PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – In August, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) started receiving reports of a mysterious canine infectious respiratory disease circulating in the Portland metro and Willamette Valley areas.
On Tuesday, the Director of Oregon Veterinary Diagnostics Lab, Dr. Kurt Williams, told FOX 12 in an interview that people should avoid boarding their dogs, visiting dog daycares, dog parks and anywhere else dogs typically gather outside of the same household, until the illness is contained.
“It would be prudent, first and foremost, to make sure your dog is fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Williams. “I think it would not be a bad idea to perhaps avoid possible situations where your dog is mingling with many other dogs. So, at a boarding facilities, or dog parks, or something like that.”
The mystery sickness may have affected hundreds of pets in the area since August. Veterinarians have submitted at least 200 written reports to the Oregon Department of Agriculture thus far.
Dr. Williams urged dog owners to remain patient and remain calm until scientists identify the disease.
“We need to be logical and patient as those of us at the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostics Lab and colleagues across the country continue to work on this disease,” said Dr. Williams.
By the time most dogs are treated by veterinarians, they have typically already gone through a phase of contagious “virus shedding,” which allows them to infect other animals. To detect respiratory infections in dogs before symptoms appear, the state has teamed up with a number of emergency veterinary clinics to launch a large-scale PCR testing program.
The agriculture department stated in a notice to vets that dogs afflicted with the illness have pneumonia or chronic tracheobronchitis. Acute pneumonia claimed the lives of several dogs in less than two days.
When asked how long people should potentially avoid taking their dogs to places where dogs mingle Dr. Williams said people should use common sense and consult their veterinarian.
“Be patient. Because these are complex issues,” said Dr. Williams. “Please be wary of sources of information. Please get your information from legitimate journalistic outlets, through scientific experts that have the expertise.”
The agriculture department states that there is no proof that this disease is linked to human diseases or that it is related to COVID-19.
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