For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2023
Public Health Investigating Respiratory Disease in LA County Dogs
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Veterinary Public Health Program has received multiple reports of dogs experiencing a sudden respiratory illness of unknown origin, similar to case reports in other states. Symptoms include cough, nasal discharge, sneezing and lethargy in dogs. Currently, Public Health is in case-finding mode to determine if and to what extent there is a new respiratory illness impacting dogs in Los Angeles County. As additional information becomes available, we will update the public.
Since Thursday, November 16, 2023, we have received ten case reports from veterinarians of dogs that have respiratory illness but tested negative on the respiratory panel that tests for common viruses and bacteria seen in dogs with similar symptoms. Owners are being contacted to determine where the dogs may have become infected. We are communicating with federal and state entities to ensure coordinated efforts as we learn more from our ongoing investigations.
This respiratory illness is currently known as Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (aCIRD). Cases are currently defined as having a negative canine respiratory PCR test panel, which tests for common viruses and bacteria identified in dogs with similar symptoms, PLUS one of the following clinical scenarios:
- Chronic mild-moderate respiratory infection that lasts more than six weeks that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics;
- Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics; or
- Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24-36 hours
Given the lack of knowledge about the cause of this disease, veterinarians and dog owners are advised to be on the lookout for symptoms such as cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, and lethargy (lack of energy) in their dogs.
If a dog is experiencing these symptoms, owners should take the following steps:
- Contact their pet’s veterinarian so the pet may be evaluated, and, if indicated, the appropriate tests and medications may be provided.
- Isolate sick dogs at home for a minimum of 28 days past the first day of the onset of illness. Dogs exposed to the sick dog should quarantine at home and away from other dogs for 14 days to monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness.
- Clean regularly and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, keyboards, and animal equipment. To disinfect, use an EPA-registered disinfecting product or a stronger bleach solution.
- Keep the dog home and away from day care, boarding kennels, grooming facilities, and dog parks.
- If a dog becomes ill after being boarded or being in a facility, owners should take it to a veterinarian for evaluation and they should also notify the facility about the illness.