Texans on Edge as Mysterious Canine Plague Spreads Across the Country

Texans on Edge as Mysterious Canine Plague Spreads Across the CountrySource: Unsplash/ Alvan Nee
Maddie Taylor Hartley
Published on November 25, 2023

Dog owners in the nation are on high alert as a mysterious and potentially lethal canine illness sweeps through various states, leaving Houstonians questioning if their furry friends might be at risk. The Houston Humane Society Animal Wellness Clinic told the Houston Chronicle that they've seen a fresh wave of pet parents clamoring for vaccinations, although Bayou City has yet to confirm any cases of this illness.

The illness, which seems to laugh in the face of antibiotics, pointing fingers at a viral culprit, has taken a toll on canine companions from coast to coast. "Looks like it's [a] virus,” Dr. Kiko Bracker told CBS News Boston, noting that figuring out exactly which virus is key before antivirals can be of any use. With reports trickling in from California to the New England states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the pestilence is spreading its shadow far and wide as detailed by the Houston Chronicle.

Cases first cropped up in Oregon this past August, with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association reporting over 200 cases following the initial outbreak, according to the Houston Chronicle. Over on the West Coast, the situation has grown so dire that the San Diego Humane Society has drastically cut back on accepting new animals after losing four dogs to this relentless sickness as per the Houston Chronicle.

An air of uncertainty still hangs over Texas. "It is not known how many cases have popped up in Texas since canine respiratory cases aren't reportable," Dr. Lori Teller, a veterinary professor at Texas A&M, told KHOU-TV. Common symptoms of the illness, masquerading as canine influenza or kennel cough, include coughing, sneezing, and labored breathing, often confusing dog owners and professionals alike, as mentioned by the Houston Chronicle.

In an interview with ABC13, Idaho resident Wendy Brown recounted the harrowing experience of her three golden retrievers falling ill, all symptomatic with perplexing coughs and lethargy. "Dooley started doing kind of this huffing and also seem to feel quite lethargic. Not too long after, Bridge began to exhibit the symptoms," Brown said, her frustration palpable as antibiotics failed to clear their conditions.

Veterinarians like Amanda Cavanagh from Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital are urging owners to heed any persistent coughing in their dogs as a red flag. "Let the vet fully evaluate," Cavanagh insisted in a statement obtained by ABC13, advocating for prompt medical attention to prevent the worst of this stealthy sickness.

Safety seems to rest on keeping canine companions close and their immunizations closer, at least until more is discovered about this enigmatic enemy of man's best friend. Houston vet clinics continue to heed the call, preparing vaccines and strengthening the front lines against the unknown disease while the nation watches, waits, and worries.