Over the last several months, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has been receiving calls from practicing veterinarians reporting an elevated number of canine respiratory disease cases in the state. This unknown canine respiratory disease has now been documented in several states around the country, including Colorado.  The illness seems to begin with a cough but then quickly progresses to pneumonia.  Data and samples are still being collected in hopes that scientists will be able to determine what the underlying agent is that is causing this disease. So far, this illness is seen only in dogs and has not been shown to be contagious to humans or other animals. 

At the Dumb Friends League, we have been fortunate in that we have not seen any cases of this illness so far.  We continue to take precautions in the prevention of an outbreak and remain vigilant for any signs associated with this disease.

Here are some tips on what you can do to prevent, or protect your pets against respiratory illnesses:

  • Vaccinations are the first line of prevention.  We recommend that you keep your pet up to date on their vaccines.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s vaccination, please reach out to your veterinarian.
  • If you notice that your pet has any signs of respiratory disease, including coughing, fever, lethargy, respiratory distress, or green ocular/nasal discharge, contact your veterinarian or seek emergency veterinary medical care. If your dog has these signs, please isolate them until you can seek care.
  • Avoid areas of high dog traffic, such as dog parks where vaccines aren’t required, especially if your pet is immunocompromised.  
  • Talk with your veterinarian about recommended vaccinations, especially if your dog will be boarding, if they visit daycare or grooming facilities, or engage with other dogs in the community.

Has the Dumb Friends League seen increased cases of severe respiratory disease in dogs?

Fortunately, the Dumb Friends League Veterinary Hospital at CSU Spur and Dumb Friends League shelters  have not seen increased cases of severe respiratory disease recently. We also have not seen any unusual trends in respiratory illness in dogs entering our facilities.

  • The Dumb Friends League maintains vigilant standards of care, processes, and protocols to keep animals safe and healthy.
  • Caring for animals who come to our facilities includes a significant focus on disease prevention and control as part of our daily work. Staff, volunteers and visitors play an important role in helping keep our animals healthy
  • We work diligently to identify animals with signs of respiratory illness and take appropriate action when needed, which can include:
    • Putting them in safe isolation.
    • Providing them with the veterinary treatment they need to get healthy.
    • Consulting with our diagnostic lab, community veterinarians, the Department of Agriculture and/or other area shelters, if we do see changes.

Other resources: Canine Respiratory Disease | Department of Agriculture (colorado.gov)