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The Mystery Dog Illness

The Mystery Dog Illness

Bordetella disease is a canine disease sweeping the country. Clinically, it looks like a severe labored breathing and coughing which may lead to fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. If left untreated it may lead to life-threatening pneumonia, and death. 

What causes this mystery dog illness?

They don’t really know, but probably an airborne pathogen. Some of us are even concerned that it may be related to the Bordetella disease, which goes by many names including kennel cough, infections tracheobronchitis, and the canine infectious respiratory disease complex. 

It's what's in the complex part of it that concerns us. The complex includes not just a Bordetella bacteria but it’s a grouping of other pathogens including herpes and adeno viruses, rickettsia, mycoplasma and God knows what else.

Bordetella disease is transmitted between dogs in kennels or at dog parks but it can also be transmitted simply from the clothing of the pet parent picked up from contaminated clothing of other pet parents bumped into at the grocery store or any public place therefore pet parents are acting as FOMITES carrying the disease home.

Some doctors think that one of the components of the disease mutates or is altered probably Weaponized the disease causing extreme clinical signs.

So the theory behind Bordatella vaccination is that the bacterin component of the vaccine essentially neutralizes the other pathogens in the complex. If the Mystery Dog Illness disease is at all related to the Bordatella disease, vaccinating should help minimize the impact of the disease.

So what should dog owners do? 

Again we’re really not sure of the cause but many Vets think it is related to the Bordetella complex disease. As Veterinarians, we recommend bi-yearly vaccination against Bordetella disease. 

Three takeaways 

1) The mystery dog illness is sweeping the country with extreme coughing labored breathing and left untreated may lead to pneumonia and death.

2) There is no reportable etiology or cause for the disease but many veterinarians think the disease may be linked to Bordetella, the canine, or infectious respiratory disease complex. Stay tuned to your veterinarian for an update.

3) So use caution and potentially get a jump on the disease by following simple current recommendations of bi-annual Bordetella vaccinations. 

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