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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Rise of Canine Colds

A new respiratory illness is circulating among dogs across the country

Masks, disinfecting and avoiding social situations—while these precautions have become less common following several years of COVID-19, an unknown illness circulating among dogs has led some owners to be more vigilant regarding their pets’ health. In recent months, a canine respiratory virus has been spreading across the country, confusing veterinarians and dog owners alike.

While canine respiratory infections are common, this new and mysterious virus has increased concerns. Typical symptoms include coughing and sneezing, similar to “kennel cough,” a common, and typically harmless infection among dogs. However, this recent outbreak seems to be different, with many cases escalating to pneumonia and even death.

The illness appears to be very infectious, causing worry of exposure risk amongst pet owners—especially in Bend, where dog parks and dog-friendly businesses are scattered everywhere.

Cases have been reported in at least 20 U.S. states and Canada, with Oregon taking one of the top spots. Since August, the state has reported over 200 cases. However, with limited infrastructure in place for reporting canine illnesses, it’s difficult to estimate how widespread the illness truly is.

“While there are no official reports here in Bend, we do believe we have seen some cases in the past few months that are acting like a pneumonia,” said Dr. Taylor Stockdale, an Emergency Veterinarian at the Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon.

Origins of the illness are unknown. Some experts believe the spread of this virus is simply due to reduced immunity levels in pets after the pandemic, or lower vaccination rates. However, the severity of the illness has led some to investigate other causes. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have identified an emerging pathogen in over 70 dogs that could be the cause of illness, but these results have yet to be verified.

“Right now, the authorities don’t have any known cause for it and no good way to test for it,” explained Stockdale.

Locally, a team of veterinarians and researchers at Oregon State University’s veterinary school are working to determine the cause of these infections.

Stockdale mentioned that some ways to protect pets from the illness include “avoiding high volume dog situations, places like daycares [and] grooming facilities.” She also advised pet owners to make sure pets are up to date on vaccinations.

The illness’s presence has become increasingly widespread on social media platforms. Owners show themselves taking precautions to protect their beloved pets, such as; limiting trips to dog parks, disinfecting pet items and avoiding walks in busy areas. In one video, a dog is seen being outfitted with a mask, goggles, hazmat suit and face shield before leaving the house for a walk.

While some of these precautions may be extreme, dog owners should consider being more vigilant in order to protect the health of their pets until more information is available.

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About the Contributor
Macy Barham, Staff Writer

Meet Macy Barham, returning for her third year writing for the Pinnacle. When she’s not in class, she enjoys cheering at football games, giving back to the community and spending time with friends. She’s excited to kick off her final year at Summit and make it a fun-filled one!

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