Canine respiratory syndrome identified in 2023

In the summer of 2023, veterinarians began to see cases of an infectious and potentially deadly canine respiratory illness. Symptoms initially resemble kennel cough and can include coughing, trouble breathing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever and lethargy. Unlike kennel cough, this illness does not respond well to standard treatment and can progress to pneumonia. The pathogen is being studied and appears to be bacterial. While most patients recover, many require hospitalization and intensive treatment. A few deaths have occurred. At this time the illness does not appear to infect humans or other species.

Recommendations to protect your dog are: (1) Limit exposure to other dogs: avoid kenneling, day cares, dog parks, and any close interactions with other dogs who may have been exposed. (2) Make sure vaccinations are up to date. (3) Watch for symptoms listed above. Seek veterinary advice without delay if symptoms are present. Symptomatic dogs should not be exposed to other dogs until cleared by a veterinarian.

Preventive Steps at Greyhound Friends

As a general practice, new adoptable dogs coming in to Greyhound Friends from out of state first go to a separate isolation unit for at least 48 hours. The dogs are examined by a veterinarian before they are cleared to enter the main kennel where other dogs are housed. This step is meant to screen new dogs for any symptoms of illness before potential exposure to the rest of the kennel.

Although we have very few in-state intakes, we are able to isolate those intakes in the same manner, enabling at least 48 hours of observation for any symptoms of illness in new arrivals.

Further, when introducing an adoptable dog to a potential adopter’s existing dog(s), we are screening for any symptoms as well as any recent exposure to other dogs outside the adopter’s household. Dogs with respiratory symptoms are not brought to the kennel for introductions until they can be cleared by a veterinarian. Dogs with recent potential exposure are not brought to the kennel until a week after exposure, with no symptoms of illness.

All the dogs in the Greyhound Friends kennel are up to date on the recommended immunizations. Staff and volunteers observe the dogs during daily activities and promptly report any symptoms of illness or injury for veterinary attention as needed. Any dog with respiratory symptoms can be housed separately from the others until cleared by a veterinarian.

Links for More Information

December 4, 2023 USA Today overview

November 23, 2023 summary of current research from phys.org. Recommendations remain unchanged.

November 21, 2023 research update from the University of NH Veterinary Diagnostic Lab

November 21, 2023 overview from NBC-5 Chicago

November 2023 update from MA Veterinary Medical Association

June 2023 update from MA Veterinary Medical Association

June 2023 Preliminary findings from testing lab at the University of New Hampshire