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The Mystery Dog Illness and Your Aussie
Most of you have probably heard about the mystery dog illness that has been going around that has resulted in serious sickness and even death. As of now, it has spread to 14 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. It is also likely present in other states and Canada.
Initially, symptoms can range from eye or nasal discharge,
sneezing, coughing (that can last for several weeks), difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, and lethargy. As the illness progresses, symptoms will include inflammation of the trachea and bronchial airways and chronic pneumonia. In severe cases, the pneumonia, which does not respond to the usual antibiotic treatments, can lead to serious complications. This is what lands dogs in the hospital and has resulted in death in some cases.
If you see any of the early symptoms, don't delay in getting your dog to the vet for an evaluation. While there are promising leads, researchers have not yet identified the cause of the mystery dog illness. So, the sooner your dog can get medical attention, before the illness progresses too far, the better their chances of making a full recovery.
Besides making sure your Aussie is in the best of health with exercise, good nutrition, and a strong immune system to begin with, the main thing you can
do to protect your dog is to minimize or eliminate their interaction with other dogs.
Until researchers and veterinarians can get a handle on this, you can minimize your dog's exposure in places like dog parks, boarding kennels and doggy daycares, at the groomers, and even with dog walkers (unless they can take your dog individually). This includes any place where your dog is likely to come in contact with other dogs whose health status is unknown.
While some experts contend this situation has been overblown and warn against the hysteria that our media is wont to foment, I think it's prudent to err on the side of caution—especially until we know more.
All the Best to You and Your Furry Friends,
Author of The Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Editor of Australian-Shepherd-Lovers.com
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