Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease
Media Inquiries: Please direct interview requests to the Oregon Department of Agriculture spokesperson.
Originally published 8.7.23
No New Case Updates Received from ODA
As of 1.24.24, we have received no further case number updates from ODA. We do not know if this means there haven't been any new cases; we just don't have any new numbers to report. We will update this page if we receive any new information. Otherwise, please assume that this is the most current information we have.
Cases Appear to Be Waning Around the Country
On 1.10.24, Dr. Scott Weese posted on his Worms and Germs blog, "Cases of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) around most of the US and Canada seem to be waning, if not back to normal. Since we have no formal surveillance, we have to rely on a variety of data sources for information about this, and none of them (for me, at least) are suggesting that we have anything remarkable going on right now with regard to CIRDC."
In August 2023, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) received reports of an atypical canine infectious respiratory illness being seen in dogs in the Portland Metro and Willamette Valley areas. As of their last public update, ODA had received over 200 reports of atypical canine infectious respiratory disease from Oregon veterinarians. Some of these reports were about illnesses that occurred earlier in the summer of 2023, prior to August. Veterinarians in other states, such as New Hampshire, have reported similar canine illnesses as far back as summer 2022.
ODA has worked with reporting veterinarians and specialists at OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine (CCVM), the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL), and the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA-NVSL) and other specialists to investigate the causative agent behind these cases.
In December 2023, the USDA stated that genetic testing showed common causes of canine infectious respiratory disease in the cases it investigated.
In January 2024, the University of New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic lab reported that it found a potential novel bacterial respiratory pathogen in 14% (31/226) samples they tested. The report states that the data is preliminary and should not change how veterinarians treat respiratory illness cases.
Should Dog Owners Be Worried?
We suggest caution rather than worry. The number of cases reported to ODA represented an extremely small percentage of Oregon's dog population.
Several experts believe the recent increase in cases is primarily due to an increase in dog ownership (eg, more dogs around), a decrease in overall vaccination rates during the pandemic coupled with an increase in dog socialization as pandemic restrictions ended, and an increase in the popularity of flat faced breeds that are more susceptible to respiratory illness.
Periodic outbreaks of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) can occur in a dog population and, while some cases can be serious, the majority of dogs recover. Transmitted by respiratory droplets, both viruses and bacteria can cause CIRDC.
CIRDC cases more commonly occur in animals housed in settings such as shelters, boarding, or training facilities rather than in animals housed in private homes, especially those with limited access to other dogs.
Symptoms of CIRDC include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, and lethargy. Veterinarians treat cases according to the dog's symptoms and severity of symptoms. There is no one size fits all treatment. Some dogs may require antibiotics or other medications. Most dogs, especially those vaccinated against respiratory illness, experience a mild illness.
Very young or old dogs, dogs with underlying conditions or brachycephalic breeds may face more challenges if they contract a respiratory illness. If your dog has a lingering cough, weakness, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, worsening of illness, and/or a cough that causes the dog to vomit or makes it hard for the animal to breathe, your dog should be seen by its veterinarian.
Precautions Against Canine Respiratory Illness
For Dog Owners
- Vaccinate your dog as recommended by your veterinarian. This may include vaccinations for canine influenza, Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine adenovirus type 2.
- Avoid communal water bowls and toys, and clean these items thoroughly.
- Avoid playdates with unknown dogs. Socialization is important for your dog, so you might consider creating a playgroup of known dogs that are also vaccinated.
- Avoid or limit your dog's exposure to settings with unknown dogs, such as off-leash dog parks.
- If your dog is sick, please keep them at home and seek veterinary care, including PCR testing to help determine the cause.
For Organizers of Dog-Related Events
- Make sure all dogs are up-to-date on vaccines, including canine influenza, Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine adenovirus type 2.
- Dogs should have a health check 12-24 hours before the event. Have a DVM onsite checking dogs for health issues: mild nasal discharge, cough, elevated temperature, being off food.
- Dogs showing symptoms of illness (cough, sneezing/congestion, diarrhea, decreased appetite) should not attend the event.
For Dog-Related Businesses
- Communicate with clients that sick dogs should not be brought in. Consider asking about the following before accepting dogs into your facility:
- Vaccinations: Is your dog current on its vaccinations against canine influenza, Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine adenovirus type 2?
- In the last 24 hours, has your dog had a cough, sneezing/congestion, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and/or low energy? If so, those dogs should visit only when feeling well again.
- Consider taking dogs' temperatures to screen for fever before allowing entry.
- Don't let dogs share water bowls and toys. Clean these items frequently.
- Clean and disinfect shared areas and equipment regularly.
- Improve ventilation in the kennel area (HEPA filter or similar).
- Wash or sanitize hands between handling dogs.
- If possible, cohort known dogs into smaller groups that stay consistent. In grooming facilities, keep dogs separated as much as possible.
- If taking dogs out on walks, avoid unknown dogs.
- Additional tips for grooming facilities (that would also apply to other facilities), including what to do if it becomes apparent the dog is sick after it is dropped off and the owner leaves, are available on Dr. Scott Weese's Worms and Germs blog.
Updated: February 14, 2024