A mysterious respiratory infection is spreading through some dog day care centers and boarding houses in New Hampshire. It begins with symptoms similar to kennel cough, a common dog respiratory infection that rapidly progresses to pneumonia, even in otherwise healthy dogs.
The cases started at a single dog care facility but later spread to other nearby organizations, Dr. Virginia Sinnott-Stutzman from MSPCA-Angell told Boston.com after speaking with a veterinarian at the Manchester Veterinary Emergency Center in New Hampshire.
“I think what’s most concerning is that their case in New Hampshire started at a puppy daycare and quickly spread to surrounding areas,” said Sinnott-Stutzman, chair of the MSPCA-Angell Infection Control Committee.
Sinnott-Stutzman said MSPCA-Angell staff haven’t seen any cases, but it’s very likely that it spread from New Hampshire to Massachusetts. Even so, Sinnott-Stutzman said, it’s less of a panic for dog owners across the Commonwealth, and more of something to watch out for.
“The cause of concern is fairly low for dogs in Boston and Massachusetts, and probably higher for those bordering New Hampshire,” she said.
The New Hampshire area is close to Nashua, Milford and Manchester.
Sinnott-Stutzman’s advice to dog owners near New Hampshire is simple: If possible, consider pulling their dog from any boarding service.
“If I was anywhere near that area, I’d say, ‘You know what, I don’t believe doggy day care is much better for my dog than getting chewed bones and holes…so I might Will pull them out. That will be my only course of action,” she said.
If people plan to travel to affected areas, Sinnott-Stutzman recommends avoiding boarding animals for any reason to limit possible exposure. She said New Hampshire veterinarians have treated some dogs from Massachusetts in town.
Sinnott-Stutzman said the disease, which has not been identified by testing, manifests as kennel cough.
“It’s one of those diagnoses made by the very classic signs and the very classic story. Dogs usually cough, not just occasionally, but like a cough, and then it’s self-perpetuating until they’re really throwing up or retching ,”she says.
The dog’s throat is often very irritated, possibly with a dry cough.
“The diagnosis was made for us because it was a healthy dog with a history of contact with other dogs in the past 10 days, usually through a boarding or training facility or daycare, and occasionally a dog park,” Sinnott said – said Stutzman. “Just like Covid-19 spreads any type of infection more easily indoors than outdoors.”
Doctors in New Hampshire have begun treating dogs with these symptoms more aggressively than normal, often recommending chest X-rays to screen for any pneumonia, Sinnott-Stutzman said.
“Doctors in New Hampshire feel that dogs are responding to antibiotics. I can’t say that because I know viral pneumonia will get better, if it will, around the same time you attribute antibiotics,” Sinnott-Stutzman Say. “I’ve told our vets to use them until we get another diagnosis.”
If someone’s pet is sick and they’ve recently traveled to New Hampshire, owners should share this information with their veterinarian, Sinnott-Stutzman said.
“If my dog gets sick, obviously I’m concerned that it will turn into pneumonia,” she said. “There were a couple of animals that died, but they weren’t the healthiest to start with. So I was more like, ‘Okay, we just need to get ready for hospitalization and rehydration and antibiotics.’ Rather than like, ‘Oh my God, I The dog is going to die.'”
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