If you have a dog then you've been especially concerned about this mysterious dog illness that has claimed the lives of many dogs around the country. Such a devastating loss anytime when the family pet passes on, however, it's especially excruciating when it's unexpected.  And even more so when veterinarians say they've been unable to identify the cause of this sickness.

I have had dogs my entire life and personally have been very careful when I take my furry best friend for a walk since this mysterious illness first surfaced. Since it's similar to kennel cough and like most dog owners, have vaccinated my dog against the illness that dogs can contract from other dogs, it's especially had me on edge and I'm sure you, too.

This mysterious illness has been described as respiratory in nature with coughing, and sneezing leaving dogs quite lethargic. It has grown to include most regions of the country.

However three cheers to University of New Hampshire researchers who believe they have discovered a clue to what's causing this illness.

According to WCVB Boston, UNH used genetic samples from dozens of dogs in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island and discovered a piece of a previously uncharacterized bacteria. They believe this bacteria has always been part of a dog's system and makeup however just recently developed the capacity to cause this new disease in canines. Basically, it's resistant to normal treatment.

UNH plans to expand its research outside of New England now and get samples from dogs across the country according to WCVB so this is only the beginning but a solid one in keeping our doggies safe and healthy.

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