A rapidly spreading illness that starts with a simple cough is claiming the lives of dogs across the country and many New York animal lovers are terrified.

The disease appears to have first been detected in Oregon but has quickly traveled across the country with cases being documented in Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California, and now the Northeast.

What we know about the mysterious dog illness in November of 2023

Little is known about the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of dogs across the country. The potentially fatal sickness begins with a cough that doesn't clear up on its own. Beyond that, veterinarians are struggling to find out more. It's unknown if a virus or bacteria causes the disease, but it does appear that dogs are catching the illness from other dogs.

According to Today, dogs that contract the mystery sickness either wind up with a mild cough that won't respond to treatment and lasts for up to two months, a case of chronic pneumonia that isn't affected by antibiotics or are stricken with severe pneumonia that comes on quickly and can end in death after just a couple of days.


Symptoms of this mysterious dog illness

Veterinarians say the disease starts with a cough and slowly turns into a pneumonia-like disease. Dogs will also experience sneezing, discharge from their eyes and nose, trouble breathing, lethargy and blue or purplish gums as a result of low oxygen levels.

Cases in the Northeast have been reported

Although there have been no cases specifically labeled as being discovered in New York, areas of the Empire State are still on alert due to cases being attributed to "New Hampshire and the surrounding Northeast area".


What should New York dog owners to do protect their pets from this mystery illness?

Veterinarian Dr. Mike Hutchinson spoke with CBS News about the fast-moving illness and urged dog owners to consider keeping their pets out of situations where they come into contact with other dogs. Even greeting strange dogs on the street with physical contact should be discouraged since it's unknown just how many dogs are carrying this mystery disease. Keeping up with vaccines, especially for respiratory illnesses is more important this year than ever.

Those who have a dog that's been experiencing a sudden cough should bring them to the veterinarian to determine whether they could have contracted the disease. Although successful treatments have not been found, your vet can take a sample and help determine if your pet could be suffering from this mystery illness.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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