North American veterinarians are grappling with a little-known respiratory disease that has infected at least 200 dogs since August. The rare infection causes prolonged coughing, sneezing, runny nose and eyes, and lethargy, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
This little-known disease leads to hospitalizations and deaths in “older dogs or dogs with health problems,” according to the North American daily New York Times. The director of a veterinary hospital in the Colorado area, Lindsay Ganzer, told the same newspaper that she had treated 35 dogs with this condition since last October, and that four of them had to be euthanized or died.
According to Oregon State Veterinarian Ryan Schultz, “These cases were tested for the most common respiratory infections, but the results were negative.”
Specialists try to find common DNA through samples collected in veterinary clinics and thus be able to understand the pathology. “If what we have identified is a pathogen, it is possible that this bacterium represents a spontaneous mutation or that acquisition of a gene from a different source made it more virulent,” New Hampshire pathologist David P. Needle.
Lindsay Ganzer warns that infected animals have one thing in common: staying in areas with a “high density of dogs,” such as dog hotels or parks.
Despite this phenomenon, the director of the Oregon Humane Society shelter, Stephen Kocsis, quoted by the New York Times, says that there is no reason to panic, because this is “a small number of affected dogs throughout the state.”
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