A New Mexico veterinarian is warning dog owners about a mystery disease spreading across the country

A mysterious and deadly disease continues to plague dogs across the country, so New Mexico’s top veterinarian is warning dog owners what to watch out for.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A mysterious and deadly disease continues to plague dogs across the country, so New Mexico’s top veterinarian is warning dog owners what to watch out for.

The disease begins with a persistent cough that lasts for weeks, then the dog becomes lethargic and refuses to eat. These are just the first signs.

“There are many different types of respiratory diseases in dogs, most of which are treatable or preventable with vaccines,” said Dr. Samantha Uhrig, state veterinarian for the New Mexico Veterinary Board. “It, for whatever reason, doesn’t respond well to treatment.”

Because antibiotics don’t work, veterinarians and researchers at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences believe it’s a virus — but much less is known right now.

“Testing is now underway to determine what the cause is, but at this time, we don’t know the cause,” Uhrig said.

The disease has been reported in 14 US states, including Colorado. Because it’s so close to home, Uhrig says it’s only a matter of time before it’s discovered in New Mexico.

“It certainly puts New Mexico at risk as neighboring states experience this,” Uhrig said. “At this time, we have no confirmed cases and we rely on our veterinarians in private practice to report those cases to us.”

Because little is known, dogs are confirmed to have the virus when tests for other known respiratory diseases are negative.

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As many people plan to travel on vacation, the disease may find new ways to spread from dog to dog.

“If you’re going to board your dog or take it somewhere it’s really important to have those vaccinations at least two weeks before your dog is exposed to other dogs,” Uhrig said.

Again, no cases have been reported in New Mexico yet, but dog owners should keep a close eye on their pets. If your dog’s cough persists, take them to the vet for a checkup.

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