A rash of deaths from a fatal respiratory illness are affecting dogs all over the United States and many veterinarians have few to no answers about what is happening.
Cases have popped up in Oregon, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California, and Nevada. Many states in the Northeast have seen a large share of cases and the toll has been significant.
Fox News reported that the disease starts as a "pervasive cough that can last for several weeks and is resistant to traditional antibiotic treatments."
Antibiotic resistant disease is especially concerning and is likely the reason for the significant number of fatalities as veterinarians have no tools with which to fight the disease.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture warned Americans to look out for sneezing, eye or nose discharge, fatigue, blue or purple gums from oxygen deprivation, trouble breathing, and negative tests for other common respiratory illnesses.
Doctor Lindsay Ganzer of Colorado Springs’ North Springs Veterinary Referral Center explained that "It seems to happen very, very quickly. [Dogs] go from this cough that just won’t go away… then all of a sudden they develop this pneumonia."
Dogs are falling sick right and left and the quick progression of the disease often leaves little chance for vets to do much of anything.
Kevin Snekvik, the Executive Director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab further explained that, "Your dog will run a fever and they won’t feel good. They’ll become lethargic, meaning they want to lie around more when normally they’d be wanting to play outside… and the coughing part of it, that becomes more productive like a wet cough, like a hacking cough."
Researchers have ruled out a crossover of some kind of human illness as the cause of the disease but there are still a lot of unknowns and researchers are somewhat in the dark.
Those unknowns have made treatment next to impossible because of the antibacterial resistance exhibited by the dogs who have been infected.
Until researchers can get more time to study and analyze this disease, viable treatments won't be available and there will be more deaths.
Antibiotic resistance is an issue that should concern Americans as a whole. While this disease thankfully doesn't affect humans, the devastation that an antibiotic resistant respiratory illness would cause among humans is unthinkable.
2020 showed the world what rapid disease transmission could do to the entire world, now imagine a world in which there was simply no easy cure.
For now, only America's dogs are at risk, but looking into the future there is a real reason to be concerned.