Keeping our community safe during the canine 'respiratory disease' outbreak

Keeping our community safe during the canine 'respiratory disease' outbreak

Understanding the current situation

The Los Angeles County Department of Veterinary Public Health has reported an outbreak of an acute onset respiratory disease of unknown cause. So far, outbreaks have been reported by veterinarians and public health officials in Oregon, Colorado, and California. Early reports suggest that this disease is highly contagious and that initial symptoms resemble what is commonly known to pet owners as 'Kennel Cough' (A.K.A Infectious Tracheobronchitis) that rapidly evolves into chronic or acute pneumonia.

This situation is currently dynamic and it is therefore critical that we take a measured response of elevated concern, but not panic. To help inform our community and keep their pets safe during this outbreak, we have outlined the following guidance on prevention, detection, and response to symptoms of the disease.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

  • Respiratory ‘Kennel Cough-like’ symptoms (coughing, eye watering, lethargy, etc.) that don’t improve after 4-5 days of treatment.
  • Development of chronic pneumonia symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, lethargy, etc.) that do not improve with use of prescribed antibiotics.
  • Acute pneumonia that rapidly worsens in severity over the span of 24-36 hours.

How is the disease contracted?

While our understanding of this disease is limited at the time, early reports suggest that this disease is highly contagious and that situations that put several dogs in close contact with one another like boarding facilities, 'doggy day cares,' and dog parks pose the most risk for contracting the disease.

How can I protect my dog from potentially contracting the disease?

Exact details on the origin and spread of this disease are unknown at this time. Until we know more, we recommend the following precautions:

  • Skip the dog park and exercise your dog independently with a long walk or game of fetch.
  • Avoid ‘doggy day care’ and boarding facilities. We know this is a tall order during the holidays. If you must board your dog, try finding a facility where your dog can boarded separately.

What do I do if my dog begins to exhibit symptoms?

  • If your dog develops a persistent cough, and is exhibiting other ‘Kennel Cough-like’ symptoms, schedule a visit to a Modern Animal clinic as soon as possible so that we can administer a PCR test (which will rule out other possible diseases) and begin to assess treatment options.
  • Isolate them from other dogs to mitigate potential for further spread.
  • If your dog has been coughing and their condition begins to worsen (difficulty breathing, lethargy, etc.), contact Virtual Care in the Modern Animal app for assistance triaging your pet. You may be directed to a veterinary emergency room.

How is Modern Animal prepared to support members during the outbreak?

The safety of our community is always our most paramount concern. As such, we are taking an abundance of caution in preparing our clinics to respond to this outbreak. In the coming weeks, we plan to support our members and protect the health of pets in our community by:

  • Increasing the amount of urgent care availability in Modern Animal clinics to accommodate members who need to receive a PCR test and rule out other diseases in the coming days.
  • Pre-screening clinic visitors for symptoms prior to clinic entry to help reduce the risk of exposure to other patients.
  • Directing members with potentially contagious pets to enter clinics through alternative entrances.

Again, this situation is still rapidly evolving. As our team learns more we will continue to update this resource with information. Stay tuned.

Need support at this time? Chat with our 24/7 Virtual Care team via the Modern Animal app. You may experience longer wait times over Thanksgiving weekend, but we’ll do our best to respond as soon as possible. 

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