How to protect your four-legged friend from the mysterious respiratory illness making its way around

If you’re a pet owner, you’re probably concerned about recent news spreading about a mysterious respiratory illness in dogs that’s spreading across the country, especially since there’s a possibility that it has made its way to Florida.

Doctor Stan Hill is the Chief Medical Officer for the Jacksonville Humane Society.

“There’s a couple of veterinarians that are in Jacksonville [and] Northeast Florida that have reported cases. As of yet, I haven’t seen 100% confirmation of that,” Hill said.

While cases aren’t officially confirmed in Florida, he says there are signs you should look out for.

“The signs of this are very much the same as most other respiratory conditions and dogs. So you’re looking for like coughing. You’re looking at sneezing, general decreases in appetite or activity level, as well, as you may see some nasal drainage,” Hill said.

Hill said this disease spreads like any other disease you see in dogs — in a dense population space like a boarding facility or doggy daycare. With the holiday season going on, it might not be possible to keep your dogs out of those spaces but there are ways to keep them safe.

“Keeping your pet up to date on all their other vaccines, including, like Bordetella, influenza can do quite a bit to prevent any disease for them. There are not any vaccines or anything yet for what we do see spreading across the country. But you should still protect your dog the best you can,” Hill said.

If you do see any of the signs of this mysterious illness try and get your dog to their vet as soon as possible.

“Not necessarily an emergency situation, but you should get them checked out within a day or so. Any treatments that are recommended are generally going to be more effective if they are started early,” he said.

If you have a dog and a cat or some other animal in addition to a dog, Hill said there’s no evidence that suggests this illness can spread to other animals.

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