Dr. Webster’s BLOG

Mystery Illness in Mid-Atlantic

A mystery illness is hitting dogs hard in Virginia, and it is puzzling veterinarians there as to what the illness may be.  Normally, I wouldn’t be so quick to write about a mystery illness or outbreak in Virginia- but since we witnessed how quickly canine influenza spread from state to state in 2017- I’m going to keep a very close eye on these developments.

More than 150 dogs have presented to veterinarians in and around Charlottesville, VA with the following symptoms in recent weeks:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Low Grade Fever
  • Lethargy

If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs in the past, you may recognize these symptoms as the same symptoms of Canine Influenza.  (If you missed that blog, find it hereThe difference here is that there is no nasal discharge or mucus included in these cases- which is almost always present with more moderate or severe cases of Canine Influenza. I’m really hoping that this is not a new strain of Canine Influenza. If this is the case, vaccine makers would need to go through the long and tedious process of making a whole new vaccine to bring to market, which takes a lot of time.

As of now, no deaths have been reported. The majority of the pets presenting were “well vaccinated”- according to news reports. I’m not quite sure what that means, as it is open for interpretation. Whether they were vaccinated against Canine Influenza, we’re not sure.

Until this illness is identified, it is difficult to understand what the incubation period is, exactly how to treat it beyond palliative care. The illness has lasted in some dogs for up to three weeks.

If you plan on traveling with your pets through the Mid-Atlantic states, exercise caution. Do not allow your pets to interact with unknown dogs. Provide them their own source of fresh water. 

For your pups staying here in Tampa, I wouldn’t have any concerns right now. If our hospital starts seeing signs of this illness coming in, or hear of others having issues- we’ll get the word out immediately.

Wishing you and your pets good health.

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