Respiratory illness is sweeping through the dog population, especially in shelters and vet clinics. This rise in cases of canine respiratory disease has caused confusion and left experts wondering about the causes.

While it’s impossible to say for sure why these illnesses are more prevalent now, we have our theories. We’ll talk about what respiratory illnesses are out there, why they’re affecting senior dogs, and what you can do about them in this article.

Common Illnesses

Protecting your canine buddy from respiratory diseases is important, but it’s a lot harder when you don’t know what to look out for. These are some of the most common respiratory illnesses that afflict dogs.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a contagious illness that got its name from how it tends to spread through kennels and other areas where dogs are housed in close quarters.

The good news is you can treat it with antibiotics in most cases. Some believe the current canine respiratory disease outbreaks to be a form of kennel cough that doesn’t respond as well to medicine.

Canine Distemper Virus

A far more severe illness that impacts multiple body systems, Canine Distemper Virus also spreads through communal areas. Unfortunately, the disease is painful and hard to treat.

Prevention of the illness is easy. You can ask the vet to vaccinate your dog for Distemper. If you own a senior dog, it’s likely already been vaccinated, but it never hurts to check.

Cold, Flu, and Pneumonia

While technically three different issues, cold, flu, and pneumonia are all related. Colds and flu are both common illnesses, and pneumonia can evolve from a nasty flu bug.

In many cases, cold and flu will go away on their own, but medicine is still recommended. Pneumonia is a severe respiratory illness. This is especially true for older dogs. Seek medical help if you suspect your dog has pneumonia.

The Current Virus

How does the new respiratory illness differ from others? The answer is there isn’t much of a difference. It spreads through close contact, like other canine illnesses, and it spreads fast. In rare cases, it can progress and kill fast, but bear in mind this is a highly uncommon occurrence. Most of the time, the disease isn’t fatal; however, it is long-lasting, with reported cases lasting 6-8 weeks or more.

Why this virus is spreading so rapidly is unknown, but there are theories. One theory is we’ve been inside more since the COVID pandemic a few years ago. This has weakened our dogs’ immune systems, so they’re more vulnerable to viruses.

Another theory is a decline in canine vaccination rates, which has compromised dog health by allowing diseases they should have been vaccinated against to evolve and flourish.

Canine Respiratory Disease and How to Stop It

Not much is known about the canine respiratory disease that has spread through several parts of the country.

However, we can offer some advice on how to protect your dog. The most important thing to do is stay vigilant. Get your pet vaccinated if they aren’t already, and take them to the vet if they show signs of illness.

You can learn more about pet health by reading through our blog. You can also check our shop for health products for your pets.