PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon veterinary specialists are still determining the cause of a respiratory disease that’s been affecting dogs at least since early August.
In a recent email, the Oregon Department of Agriculture notified veterinarians that there had been over 100 reported cases of the “Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease” since Aug. 9.
The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association reported the cases were concentrated in the Portland and Willamette Valley areas, but officials revealed that an animal rescue in Salem has had several cases as well.
According to ODA, the reported cases have fallen into three categories: chronic tracheobronchitis that lasts at least six to eight weeks and isn’t easily treated by antibiotics, chronic pneumonia that doesn’t respond well to antibiotics, and acute pneumonia that can severely affect canines in as little as 24 hours.
The agency is working alongside national and state animal experts to properly identify the atypical disease and what causes it. But as of right now, the director of Oregon’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory says it’s still a mystery.
“…We’ve been undertaking a series of tests mostly looking for common sorts of expected bacterial and viral pathogens, but we’re also doing some testing for perhaps novel agents as well — novel viruses in particular,” OVDL Director Kurt Williams explained.
With the majority of cases that have been reported and tested thus far, the state agriculture department said dogs had already experienced the shedding period. Going forward, ODA has directed emergency veterinary offices to collect samples that will be paired with PCR tests in an attempt to detect the mysterious disease.
As pathologists and virologists continue their research, Williams encourages dog owners to trust the process — and take precautions.
“I think it’s very, very important to make sure that the animals are properly vaccinated or have a great diet, you know, all the things that we need to be doing for ourselves as far as maintaining and preventing disease: proper diet, proper exercise, proper vaccination. See your veterinarian regularly if you have concerns,” he said.
Dog owners with further questions can contact the Oregon State University’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.