How Can We Combat the Unseen Threat of New Emerging Canine Respiratory Illnesses?

November 21, 2023

Emerging Threat: Mysterious Respiratory Illness Strikes Dogs Across Multiple States

Veterinarians and animal care professionals across the United States are currently facing a serious challenge with the rise of a mysterious respiratory illness in dogs, as recent reports from the Today Show, The Washington Post and the The New York Times. This illness, predominantly observed in high-density environments like boarding facilities, is like previous respiratory challenges, such as the 2015 canine influenza outbreak.

Dr. Kurt Williams, Director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, has seen alarming outcomes in the affected dogs, with some experiencing prolonged illness and, unfortunately, in a few cases, death. This troubling development is being closely examined by experts in the field.

Dr. David Needle, a senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, is at the forefront of this research, exploring the genetic makeup of the pathogens causing this illness. “There is something significant happening,” Dr. Needle remarked. “Whether or not it’s the same thing as past outbreaks has yet to be seen.”

Very little is known about the illness, but veterinarians say it usually starts with a cough that might last for weeks, then progresses to pneumonia (visible on X-rays) and severe respiratory distress. The disease generally does not appear to respond to antibiotics, and in acute cases of pneumonia, poor outcomes are seen in as little as 24 to 36 hours, according to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, which has received more than 200 reports of potential cases.

Among these concerning developments, Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, a veterinarian and CEO at North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has reported a diverse range of cases in her practice. She has treated approximately 35 dogs since late October, with the illness manifesting in various severities – from mild symptoms like coughing to more severe cases involving pneumonia. Tragically, four of these cases resulted in euthanasia or death. The dogs affected by this illness span a range of breeds and ages, but they share a common factor: all had spent time in places with high concentrations of dogs, such as boarding facilities, doggy daycares, or dog parks. This commonality is particularly concerning to Dr. Ganzer, who fears an uptick in cases as the holiday season progresses and more pet owners opt to board their dogs or use daycare services. Her insights underscore the urgent need for heightened vigilance and preventive measures in these high-density dog environments.

Addressing Aerosolized Threats: The Imperative of Proactive Measures in Animal Care Settings

In response to past outbreaks like the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the 2015 canine influenza, we recognize the critical need for a comprehensive approach to disease mitigation. While surface cleaning and vaccines are vital, they alone cannot fully stop the spread of infection. It’s clear that the primary source of the problem is airborne transmission, as suggested by recent reports. To effectively address and ultimately mitigate the problem, we must prioritize air purification and disinfection. Commercial UV air disinfection systems, such as Aerapy (formerly known as PetAirapy), play a critical role in this multifaceted strategy by proactively targeting the root cause – airborne pathogens.

This investment in air quality management goes beyond responding to immediate crises; it signifies our commitment to sustained health and safety standards. By focusing on the source of the problem, we ensure the long-term well-being of both animals and staff. Prioritizing air quality through advanced disinfection solutions remains paramount in our mission for comprehensive disease control. To mitigate the problem, we must tackle it at its source, making air quality management an essential part of the strategy.

Aerapy (formerly PetAirapy) UV Disinfection for the Prevention of Respiratory Infections

With over 15 years of dedicated service, Aerapy Animal Health stands as a trusted partner in comprehensive disease prevention for the animal care industry. Backed by peer-reviewed studies that have been published in veterinary medical journals and a wealth of experience, our UV disinfection solutions have been proven effective in combatting aerosolized infections.

It’s important to note that when it comes to air disinfection, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Recognizing the differences between animal and human care, we understand the unique challenges and demands of the animal care environment. This understanding guides our commitment to tailored solutions.

In alignment with recommendations from respected authorities like the CDC and ASHRAE, we emphasize the importance of UV technology for air disinfection. The recognition of UV as an effective method of air disinfection underscores its role as a critical component in safeguarding the well-being of animals and staff.

As we face the current challenge of this new mysterious respiratory illness and ongoing threats in high-density animal care settings, our team is actively staying updated and is dedicated to sharing these updates as they become available.

Aerapy has been at the forefront of UV technology for animal care since 2008. Aerapy’s UV disinfection technology has undergone rigorous testing against various strains of viruses and bacteria, consistently achieving a greater than 99.9% kill rate. For more information on how we can benefit your animal care facility, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 866-994-2473 or inquire online for detailed information.

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