Portland, Ore. — Veterinarians are alerting dog owners in and around the Portland metro area about a respiratory illness affecting canines. Dr. Sarah Tauber, a staff veterinarian at Dove Lewis, describes it as a canine infectious disease with an unknown cause, emphasizing that no single pathogen has been identified.

The mysterious illness reached its peak during the summer, and although cases have diminished, the disease continues to spread. In severe instances, dogs have been hospitalized and died within days of falling ill. The symptoms include lethargy, eye and nose discharge, coughing, and labored breathing. Some dogs exhibit milder symptoms persisting for weeks without responding to antibiotics.

Dr. Tauber advises dog owners to be vigilant and contact their veterinarian at the first signs of acute symptoms. The Oregon Department of Agriculture collaborates with local veterinarians to track cases, collecting samples to gather more information.

Certain dogs, particularly older or younger ones and those with pre-existing conditions, appear to be at a higher risk. Dr. Tauber suggests these dogs avoid large dog gatherings and stay up to date on vaccinations.

If a dog shows symptoms and is taken to the vet, Dr. Tauber recommends keeping them in the car initially for proper isolation. However, there is no evidence suggesting transmission of the disease between humans and dogs, so no need to isolate from a sick dog.