COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – A highly contagious, and potentially deadly dog illness is spreading in Colorado Springs, and veterinary clinics are now warning dog owners as the number of cases are growing.
The Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital says they’ve reported 5 cases this past month that match the symptoms of the new illness, but add that local emergency hospitals they’ve been in contact with have reported 9 cases in just the last week — some of those cases even proving deadly.
“There is no known treatment — because we don’t know what we’re up against.” explains Cristy Fisher, the co-owner of Pine Creek Vet Hospital.
Typically, respiratory issues in dogs are tested for and traced back to ‘Kennel Cough’ or a canine influenza, which saw an outbreak in Chicago and then in Colorado Springs years ago. However Fisher says this new illness is unlike those typical diagnoses.
“But what sort of stood out was usually kennel cough patients resolve on their own, ironically; and this the patients that had this, they didn’t seem to resolve, and if they did, it came back, which was unusual.
If a dog comes down with the virus, Fisher says it will develop an extreme cough, which will produce lots of mucus and phlegm.
She now recommends doing your best to steer your dog clear of populated areas, especially ahead of the holiday season.
“Don’t take them to a boarding facility, avoid dog parks, doggie daycare, grooming facilities.” said Fisher.
Katherine Lull, a frequent user of the Bear Creek Dog Park in Colorado Springs with her 4-year-old dog, says when she heard about the illness, she took precaution.
“I made it a vet appointment and got her thoroughly checked out and vaccinated.” explained Lull.
But, she says she doesn’t plan on limiting her outdoor time with her best friend.
“I’m not going to live in fear — I’m going to keep an eye on her and if she shows any signs of respiratory distress or coughing or whatever, I’ll take care of it.” said Lull.
Fisher explained to KRDO13 that there’s limited options for treatment, and all clinics are taking in as much data as they can as more dogs are being tested, to pinpoint a proper way to attack the new virus.
“Hopefully it’s not going to last long. But it looks… to be here to stay.” said Fisher.
If your dog is showing symptoms of extra mucus, or abnormal coughing, you’re encouraged to visit your veterinarian or animal care provider.
Dr. Debi Johnson is a medical expert and health journalist dedicated to promoting well-being. With a background in medicine, she offers evidence-based insights into health trends and wellness practices. Beyond her reporting, Dr. Debi enjoys hiking, yoga, and empowering others to lead healthier lives.