A mysterious and potentially deadly respiratory illness is spreading among dogs in various states including Louisiana. Several veterinarians as close as Houston are reporting that they are treating dogs with oxygen as they recover from this suspected virus.

Veterinarians say affected dogs exhibit symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, and overall lack of energy. Reports of the infectious respiratory disease first surfaced in August in the pacific northwest, specifically Portland, Oregon.

What Can You Do

Experts say dog owners to avoid places where dogs congregate, such as boarding facilities and dog parks, until the illness is contained. More than 200 written reports from veterinarians have been submitted to Departments of Agriculture in several states.

Unfortunately, many dogs are treated only after undergoing a contagious phase, facilitating the spread of the virus. Dogs with the illness may develop pneumonia or chronic tracheobronchitis, with acute pneumonia already causing fatalities. Veterinarians stress the need for a logical and patient approach as efforts to understand and combat the disease continue nationwide.

Tips for Dog Owners in Louisiana

Winter is when many illnesses in pets occurs. People and pets are indoors more together and the cold weather could make it all worse. See the tips below to keep your pets safe.

  1. Provide Adequate Shelter: Ensure that your pets have a warm and dry place to escape the cold weather. If your pets spend time outdoors, provide them with a shelter that shields them from wind, rain, and snow. Make sure it's well-insulated and contains cozy bedding to help them stay warm.
  2. Protect Their Paws: Salt and de-icing chemicals on sidewalks can be harmful to pets' paws. Consider using pet-safe ice melts and wiping their paws with a damp cloth after walks to remove any residue. Additionally, investing in pet booties can provide extra protection against cold surfaces and harsh chemicals.
  3. Adjust Their Diet: Cold weather may alter your pets' activity levels, potentially leading to weight gain. Consult with your veterinarian about adjusting their diet accordingly. Ensure they have access to fresh water at all times, as hydration is crucial even in colder temperatures.
  4. Bundle Up During Outdoor Activities: Just like humans, pets can benefit from extra layers in cold weather. Depending on their breed and size, some pets may require sweaters or coats during walks. Be attentive to signs of discomfort, and if your pet seems bothered by the cold, limit their time outdoors.
  5. Maintain Regular Exercise: While it's tempting to stay indoors during winter, pets still need regular exercise to stay healthy. Create a stimulating indoor environment with toys and interactive play. If weather permits, engage in outdoor activities, but be mindful of the time spent outside and watch for signs of discomfort or overexertion.

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