Recently there has been an increased number of canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRDC) occurring in Portland Oregon since August 2023 that veterinarians are not sure what the causative agent is.

There are an estimated 200 cases reported by numerous veterinarians regarding this disease of unknown causation. Even though veterinarians and scientists are currently researching the potential cause and preventative measures, it is important to recognize and understand basic respiratory symptoms and prevention to minimise the risk of contracting this unknown disease.

Canine respiratory diseases are usually caused by a strain of virus or bacteria that causes very common respiratory symptoms, such as: nasal discharge, ocular discharge, coughing, and sneezing. These symptoms if left untreated can develop into more severe conditions like inflamed trachea or pneumonia. These bacteria and viruses are usually contracted via airborne molecules. High-density areas of dogs are good locations to attract CIRDC, such as: parks, boarding locations, daycare, and hospital environments. It is thus imperative to ensure preventative measures are in place to ensure that contracting this new disease is minimal.

The first method to reduce the chance of this unknown CIRDC is to appropriately vaccinate your dog. Two vaccines are of utmost important, canine parainfluenza vaccine and bordetella vaccine (kennel cough). Both these vaccines will target and prevent strains of viruses and bacteria that cause similar respiratory diseases and symptoms. If your dog tends to go to boarding, daycare, or high-density locations with dogs of unknown vaccine history, it is good to have your dog vaccinated to prevent the spread of diseases. Another method is to limit interactions between unknown vaccine histories of dogs. Unvaccinated dogs can carry strains of virus or bacteria without displaying any symptoms that may be harmful and contagious. As a result, they can carry and pass on these respiratory diseases to your dog even if they are vaccinated. It is a good habit to let dogs interact with each other as long as their vaccines are up to date!

If your dog is displaying signs of a respiratory illness, the best thing is to contact a veterinarian. The earlier the symptoms are caught, the better and faster the recovery period will be. The veterinarian may prescribe both antibiotics and cough suppressants to reduce the number of symptoms and to fight the virus or bacteria causing the issue. Having steam presented a few times throughout the day to your dog may also help ease some discomfort in
their trachea due to the constant coughing. As well, isolation of your dog is important to reduce the chance of infecting other dogs.

While the causation of this potent respiratory disease in dogs is unknown; by following simple and common preventative measures, it can drastically decrease the chance of infection.