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As Mystery Illness Spreads, Local Veterinarians Share Steps to Protect Your Dog

As Mystery Illness Spreads, Local Veterinarians Share Steps to Protect Your Dog

Dr. Katie Heckel Examines Pet

Respiratory Illness with No Known Treatment Now Reported in More Than a Dozen States

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The veterinarians at Cupola Animal Hospitals are sharing steps you can take to protect your dog as a mystery respiratory illness is believed to have made its way to Tennessee.

While no cases have been officially confirmed in Tennessee, local veterinarians are reporting cases of concern. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says as many as 15 states – from Florida to California – have confirmed cases of the illness with symptoms ranging from persistent coughing and sneezing to nasal and ocular discharge and lethargy.

The illness mirrors symptoms commonly attributed to Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) or “kennel cough,” but experts have found no clear link between this illness, CIRDC, and other common viral and bacterial infections in lab tests, which is why the “mystery” status persists.

The team at Cupola Animal Hospitals says there are important preventative measures all dog owners should take.

“The best way to protect your pet is to be vaccinated for all respiratory pathogens,” said Dr. Katie Heckel, a veterinarian at Cupola Animal Hospitals. “Those include influenza – commonly known as the flu – and Bordetella vaccines, which covers three infectious agents.”

Veterinarians in Oregon who have seen more than 200 confirmed cases of this “atypical canine infectious respiratory illness” since August report inflammation of the trachea as well as instances of chronic and acute pneumonia in severe cases. These cases have lasted weeks and were not responsive to traditional antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic medications.

Cupola Animal Hospitals’ three locations continue to monitor all dogs in their care and ask pet owners to do the same.

“If your pet is exhibiting lethargy, coughing, or nasal or ocular discharge, you need to bring your pet into our office to be seen by a veterinarian,” said Dr. Heckel. “If you are traveling to impacted states or in public places with your dog, please consider social distancing to prevent exposure.”

To learn more about the care available at Cupola Animal Hospitals, visit