Although it doesn't appear to have affected dogs here in New Jersey, there's a disease that seems to be spreading in parts of the country, and you should be aware of it.

Authorities are describing it as an unusual respiratory illness and it has claimed the lives of dogs in several states, including Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, and parts of Illinois.

Veterinary laboratories in several states along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory are collaborating on their information with hopes of finding the cause.

Researchers have been vexed by this disease.  They believe it may well be a virus because it is infectious, but they say they can't be certain.

The risk is particularly higher for dogs that come in contact with other dogs.  According to, signs of respiratory illness in dogs include a cough, nasal discharge, panting/difficulting breathing, and listlessness.

Once the dog starts to display symptoms, it progresses fast, often becoming pneumonia in as little as 24- 36 hours.  This illness has been resistant to antibiotics.

There is no reason to panic. You should make sure your dogs are up to date on all their vaccinations.  If you board your dog, or if your dog is in contact with others, have a conversation with your vet about proper precautions.

Watch your dog for the symptoms.  If he/she starts coughing or sneezing, get to the vet to check it out.  Try to avoid contact with other dogs.

A potentially fatal mystery illness in dogs is spreading in the US. It starts with a cough (

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