This respiratory virus was first isolated from racing Greyhounds in 2004. The virus appears to have mutated from the equine influenza virus. It has bee found in dogs of all breeds and mixes across North America.
Affected dogs will have a high fever, a soft - gagging cough (unlike the goose honking of kennel cough), and may have a nasal discharge.
While 80% of dogs have a mild course of disease when exposed to this new pathogen, some will go on to develop pneumonia. Mortality is about 5 - 8 percent with most fatalities in puppies, old, dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems. Some dogs will shed the virus either before becoming ill or chronically.
To differentiate this problem from kennel cough will require lab tests.
Treatment should start immediately. Isolate the dog, because this disease is contagious and is spread through the air. Supportive car is important, with antibiotics used if a secondary bacterial infection develops. Many dogs require fluids and hospitalization if they develop pneumonia. There is currently no vaccine.
Please contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have this condition.
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