Understanding the Mysterious Canine Respiratory Illness

Recent reports from the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostics Center and other veterinary institutions have highlighted a mysterious canine respiratory illness. This illness, showing symptoms similar to canine influenza and kennel cough, has been observed across various U.S. regions. However, its exact cause remains unknown.

What We Know So Far

Symptoms of this illness include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Nose or eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

Precautions to Take

  • Avoid high-risk areas like kennels, dog parks, and daycare facilities.
  • Do not share bowls, toys, or chews between dogs.
  • We recommend checking out Trusted Housesitters if you need to travel instead of boarding your dog if possible.

Because the infectious cause of this disease is not known, vaccines will not protect your pet against this, and we do not recommend them.  What we do recommend is protecting your pet’s immune system and strengthening and improving their health following our 5 pillars of health.  Following these foundations is always most important, especially when there is concern over a highly infectious, respiratory disease.

Diagnostic Efforts and Veterinary Insights

The Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) provides diagnostic consultations and resources for specimen collection, emphasizing the importance of testing during the disease’s acute phase.  If your pet starts showing any of the above symptoms, it is important to have them examined and tested by your veterinarian.test for dog UTI

Media Coverage Highlights

Notable coverage includes insights from veterinarians and researchers, emphasizing the need for awareness, early testing, and the challenges in identifying the pathogen.

  • Popular Science (Nov. 29, 2023): Emphasizes not to panic, while acknowledging the increase in respiratory disease cases.
  • CNY Central (Nov. 28, 2023): Highlights the challenges in identifying the pathogen and the need for more research.
  • Prevention Magazine (Nov. 29, 2023): Reports cases in Oregon, California, Colorado, Georgia, and Florida, noting the difficulty in linking these cases to the same illness.
  • NPR (Nov. 27 & 28, 2023): Discusses the spread in various states and the importance of symptom awareness and early testing.

Local Impacts and Veterinary Responses

Reports from New Hampshire and New England indicate increasing cases of this respiratory disease, with ongoing research and advice for pet owners.

Strengthening Your Pet’s Immune System: The Five Pillars

1. Optimal Nutrition: The Foundation of Healthdog food

  • Biologically Appropriate Diet: Feed your pet a diet that is biologically appropriate and bioavailable. Nutrition alters gene expression towards better health.
  • Reducing Inflammation and Antioxidant Intake: Choose diets that reduce inflammation and increase antioxidants through fresh organic meats, organs, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Make sure to grab our FREE Simple Guide To Improving Your Pet’s Food if you want some of the brand recommendations and even recipes to provide your pet with optimal nutrition to help strengthen their immune system and microbiome.

2. Minimizing Exposure to Toxins

  • Environmental Toxins: Be aware of toxins in household cleaners, beauty products, and outdoor chemicals.
  • Reducing Toxin Ingestion: Opt for pet-safe cleaning products and minimize your pet’s exposure to outdoor toxins.
  • To learn more about supporting your pet’s detox pathways, make sure you check out our blog post: Holistic Pet Care: A Guide to Safely Detoxing Dogs and Cats

3. Immune Support through Supplements

  • Navigating Supplements: Supplements can enhance your pet’s immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Supporting the Microbiome: Maintain a healthy microbiome with a biologically appropriate diet and probiotics.
  • For our top immune supporting supplements that we recommend during this outbreak, make sure to check out our FullScript link: Canine Respiratory Supplements

For general immune support that can be used during extra times of need, we recommend the following:

  • Standard Process Canine Whole Body Support
  • Standard Process Canine Immune Support– The immune system is not one discreet organ, but a range of tissues and cellular functions.  These tissues include bone marrow, thymus, small intestine, spleen, lymph tissue, and liver.  Canine Immune Support provides a combination of vitamins, minerals, tissue substrates, and phytochemicals that have an immunomodulatory effect.  Standard Process Canine Immune System Support contains four key research-supported ingredients to help support your pets’ immune systems:

    • Zinc rice chelate which is essential for proper immune system function (zinc deficiency is reported to negatively impact immunity)

    • EpiCor (whole food fermentate comprised of proteins, fibers, polyphenols, vitamins, amino acids and beta glucans that have been clinically shown to provide significant immune health benefits

    • Vitamin E (an important antioxidant nutrient)

    • Iodine from kelp plays a role in cell function and the physiology of the inflammatory response.

  • Standard Process VF Thymex for Petsaqueous extract from bovine thymus. It is felt to promote phagocytic and lymphatic activity, stimulate general thymus immune response, and stimulate defenses against bacterial and viral infections. Often this product is added into the support protocol when the problem has become chronic and is not fully responding to other therapies. Benefits are usually seen in one week, although in some cases it may take up to three weeks to fully evaluate the results.
  • Real Mushrooms 5Defenders – This medicinal mushroom supplement is a blend of different mushrooms that are helpful for supporting and strengthening all areas of the body.reishi mushroom
  • FeraPet Immune Topper – This veterinarian-formulated powder contains colostrum, organic Turkey Tail mushroom and temperature-stable probiotics that work together to boost immunity while providing resistance to bacteria and pathogens.

If your dog is experiencing active infection and symptoms, then we recommend the above supplements but adding on the following:

  • Congaplex– combines Cataplex A-C (supports mucus membranes and provides Vit C), Thymex (cytosol for additional immune support), Calcium Lactate (studies support that ionize calcium is essential in the roll of phagocytosis and the immune response), and Ribonucleic Acid (assist in rebuilding and repair). Congaplex is useful in treating infections through its support of immune tissues. It is used at high levels initially (below dosing can be doubled), then tapered off.  
    • Dosing:
      • 1-20lbs: Give 2 capsules per day
      • 21-50lbs: Give 3 capsules per day
      • 51lbs+: Give 2 capsules twice per day
  • Pneumotrophin PMG: Recommended if your dog is showing signs of lung or respiratory compromise. Contains Protomorphogen™ extracts from pulmonary tissue. It is used as a component of the support protocol for any respiratory problem.
    • Best given on an empty stomach
    • Dosing:
      • 1-20lbs: Give 2 tablets per day
      • 21-50lbs: Give 4 tablets per day
      • 51lbs+: Give 6 tablets per day

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: Should I get my dog tested?
A: Consult your local veterinarian, especially if you observe symptoms. The AHDC is assisting with testing options.

Final Thoughts

In these challenging times, combining proactive health strategies with vigilance for respiratory illness symptoms is vital. Regular check-ups, staying updated on developments, and holistic care approaches can significantly impact and protect your dog’s health.

Stay vigilant, stay informed, and keep your furry companions safe and healthy.

To stay up to date with the latest information and natural remedies to help keep your pets safe and healthy, make sure to join our weekly newsletter: 

*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. The information contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Please consult your veterinarian for medical advice for your own pets. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Skip to content