Expert recommends isolating dogs amid deadly, highly contagious, ‘mysterious illness’

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SEATTLE — There’s a new warning for dog owners about a mysterious illness that’s spreading nationwide and in some cases has turned deadly.

Kevin Snekvik, the Executive Director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab at Washington State University said researchers are still trying to find out what is causing this disease.

The first reports came from Oregon where there are currently more than 100 incidents. Snekvik said the disease is highly contagious, meaning it can spread easily among dogs.

“Your dog will run a fever and they won’t feel good, they’ll become lethargic meaning they want to lie around more when normally they’d be wanting to play outside and play, and like you mentioned the coughing part of it, if that becomes more productive more of a wet cough, like a hacking cough,” Sekvik said.

He said dog owners need to be aware of symptoms and pay close attention to their pets.

He said if your dog experiences any of these symptoms you should take them to the vet and make sure to get sampling done so it can be sent to a state lab for testing.

“What we’re seeing is respiratory disease so again the coughing, dogs not feeling well, and presenting as kind of a kennel cough,” he said.

Snekvik also recommends that people avoid dog parks or congregating with other dogs they don’t know.

“With her energy levels I can’t necessarily go without coming to this and she’s a very social dog,” Kelsey Moburg, a dog owner, told KIRO 7. “It’s a little worrying.”

Snekvik also said he recommends owners avoid boarding pets for the holidays if they can.

“It sounds like he might be coming to Indianapolis with me for a couple of weeks for the holidays,” Emma Green said about bringing her dog, Duncan, along for her holiday travels.