News & Events in Duluth, GA

We have received calls about a potential new respiratory disease being seen specifically in the Pacific Northwest, but also potentially being seen in other areas of the country.

Update on the Mystery Canine Respiratory Virus

There is still limited information about the atypical canine respiratory virus that has made headlines recently. Experts have not identified whether this is a new bacterium or virus, or whether it is simply a different presentation of the well-known canine infectious respiratory disease complex known as kennel cough. As of early December, cases of the atypical canine respiratory virus have been seen by veterinarians in multiple states. Oregon has reported some 200 cases since August, and there have been an unknown number of cases in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

According to a recent article published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet owners should not panic if their dog coughs, but to remain vigilant about the pet’s health and contact their veterinarian if they have concerns. Signs that warrant a visit to the veterinarian include a lingering cough, weakness, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, worsening of illness, and a cough that is sufficiently severe that it causes the dog to vomit or makes it hard for the animal to breathe. It is especially important to see a veterinarian if the dog is old, very young, brachycephalic (short nosed or flat faced), immunocompromised, pregnant, or has underlying heart or respiratory disease.

The AVMA also strongly urges owners to keep their dog’s vaccines updated. While the efficacy of existing vaccines against current cases is uncertain, maintaining overall health through routine vaccinations can help support a dog’s immune system in combating disease. Optimal protection against common respiratory infections includes an annual intranasal vaccine against Bordetella, canine adenovirus type 2, and canine parainfluenza vaccine. Where canine influenza is known to be circulating, the injectable canine influenza vaccine also is recommended.

A Potential New Respiratory Disease

We have received calls about a potential new respiratory disease being seen specifically in the Pacific Northwest, but also potentially being seen in other areas of the country.

Nature of the Disease: This mysterious respiratory ailment manifests initially resembling kennel cough with symptoms such as persistent coughing and gagging as if something is caught in the throat. However, what sets this disease apart is its resistance to antibiotics, and progression into chronic bronchitis or pneumonia. Unfortunately, some dogs have experienced acute pneumonia and succumbed to the illness.

Severity and Comorbidities: Of particular concern is the severity of the disease, with reports suggesting a higher risk for dogs with pre-existing health conditions. Many of the canine fatalities have been associated with comorbidities, highlighting the importance of monitoring pets closely, especially those with underlying health issues.

Human Impact and COVID-19 Clarification: It is crucial to emphasize that no human illnesses have been linked to this respiratory disease, and it is entirely unrelated to COVID-19. The focus remains on understanding and addressing the specific challenges posed by this canine ailment.

Current Measures and Veterinary Recommendations: Veterinary authorities are actively investigating the root cause and potential transmission mechanisms of this disease. Pet owners are urged to seek immediate veterinary attention if their dogs exhibit any respiratory symptoms, even if they initially seem mild.

There have been no reports of this new disease in this area, but as a precautionary measure, we recommend avoiding contact between dogs, especially dogs showing clinical signs and dogs of unknown vaccination status. This includes refraining from communal dog spaces such as dog parks and heavily trafficked dog walking areas until more information is available about the disease and its transmission.

Ongoing Research and Collaborative Efforts: Researchers and veterinary experts are collaborating to identify the causative agent, mode of transmission, and effective treatment strategies. So far there is not a lot of information to report but this can easily become a rapidly developing situation, and updates will be provided as soon as new information becomes available.

It is essential to recognize that respiratory diseases are relatively common among dogs, and most cases are not attributed to the emerging disease. Dogs may exhibit signs such as coughing, lethargy, or gagging, and these signs are probably due to the more common respiratory pathogens like bordetella, parainfluenza, or mycoplasma. Also just like with people coughs can persist for up to a few weeks with the more common respiratory infections, even with treatment, and especially if your pet has other health issues.

Stay informed and keep your dog protected: As we learn more about this emerging disease, we will provide more information. Until then if your dog shows any signs of respiratory illness or any other illness, please contact the hospital to set up an appointment. We try to keep appointments open to see sick dogs or cats and one of our veterinarians should be able see your sick pet on the same day especially if you contact the clinic early in the day.

Tiger Tails Animal Hospital:
Vaccination Guidelines for Your Canine Companions

At Tiger Tails Animal Hospital, we prioritize the health and well-being of your pets. In light of recent developments regarding the respiratory disease affecting canines in the Pacific Northwest, we want to share our comprehensive vaccination guidelines to help you safeguard your pets.

Vaccination Recommendations:  Vaccines are vital for the health of your canine friend, but they are not without risk. At Tiger Tails Animal Hospital, our team of veterinarians emphasize a balanced approach to vaccination. Dr Zack, hospital owner and medical director, worked in the vaccine industry for years and was instrumental in helping develop the original vaccine guidelines that the American Animal Hospital Association uses to establish vaccine protocols. These guidelines established the concept of core and non-core vaccines. The core vaccines are considered essential for all dogs. Non-core vaccines should be considered based on a dog's lifestyle and potential exposure to specific diseases.

Core Vaccines:
The following vaccines are considered core vaccines at Tiger Tails and are essential for every dog's health:

  1. DAPP (distemper, adenovirus type 2, parvovirus, parainfluenza): Protects against common and potentially severe canine diseases. This vaccine is referred to as the distemper vaccine.
  2. Rabies: A critical vaccine required by law to protect against rabies, a deadly viral disease to both people and pets.
  3. Bordetella: Protects against kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection.

Non-core Vaccines:
Non-core vaccines are selectively recommended based on individual risk factors. At Tiger Tails Animal Hospital, we advise the following:

  1. Influenza: We recommend this bacterial vaccine for dogs that travel frequently and are exposed to airport environments, as well as those that attend dog shows, or participate in sporting competitions, dock diving or agility trials. We also recommend your dog receive an influenza vaccine if it spends time in doggy day care, boarding kennels, or dog parks.
  2. Leptospirosis: This bacterial vaccine is recommended for dogs that spend time outdoors exploring woods and swimming in lakes rivers or streams and even those that drink from puddles on walks. We also recommend the lepto vaccine for dogs with yards that back up to wildlife habitats, farms, or water sources. If your yard is commonly visited by wildlife, especially racoons and deer, or is prone to flooding during storms, you should also vaccinate your dog for lepto.
  3. Lyme Disease: We only recommend this vaccine to dogs that travel and spend time in regions where Lyme disease is prevalent, primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Remember, your veterinarian is your best ally in determining the most suitable vaccination plan for your canine companion. At Tiger Tails Animal Hospital, we're dedicated to providing personalized care that ensures a long, healthy, and happy life for your pets.

For any inquiries or to schedule a vaccination appointment, please call or text (770) 817-9565.


Dog on couch