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Canine Mystery Illness

Unless you have been hiding out from the world, you’ve probably heard about the sensational “Mystery Illness” affecting dogs.  In the past 48 hours, social media and news have put this front and center.  It’s not actually new….it’s been going around since early summer.  But for some reason, it is now the hot topic.  Currently 5 states have seen cases, Illinois being one of the five. 

I’m writing this post to give you Play All Day’s stance on the topic, as it stands today, with the knowledge that we have in hand.

Play All Day’s stance is that this appears to be another variation of Canine Cough.  It has not hit our area yet.  It may or may not.  When it does, we will handle it as we normally handle Canine Cough.  Dogs will not be permitted at daycare until their symptoms subside.  If more information does come to the surface that suggests we should vary from our policies, we will do so.  Our mission is to provide a fun, SAFE, and enriching environment for the dogs in our care and we will keep that mission at the forefront as we follow this and make decisions.

For now, it is business as usual at Play All Day.   

For more information, please continue to read.

What is it and what does it mean for you and your dog? 

  • Bottom line, it is an upper respiratory infection (URI). URI is a general term to describe any infection of the upper airways, caused by a bacteria or virus.  The “mystery” in this situation is that the testing has not shown the usual culprit of viruses and bacteria that have been the cause in the past.  We usually see Mycoplasma, a bacterium, as the cause of Canine Cough (URI’s) in the Peoria area. 
  • The other difference about this URI is that the cough seems to be more chronic, sometimes lasting weeks. And they have seen more dogs develop pneumonia than usual.  Pneumonia is always a risk with a URI and that is why we encourage you to go to your veterinarian when we have a Canine Cough outbreak.  Antibiotics not only treat the underlying cause but can help to prevent pneumonia from developing. 
  • Some dogs have developed severe pneumonia and ultimately died. But these are very rare and seem to only be affecting immunocompromised dogs.  Unfortunately, this is the thread that the news media has latched on to and they do not hesitate to sensationalize it to grab your attention.  The deaths are rare and that should be their headline.
  • The real news is that there is a new form of URI and at this time, the cause has not been identified.


What should you do?

  • First, my advice is not to panic. Read the social media posts and news stories entirely, not just the headlines.  If it feels sensational, move on to the next source that gives you facts, not drama.
  • This is not something that is going to go away in one week. If you are thinking about stopping socialization of your dog (walks, daycare, boarding, grooming, going to the Vet, play dates), it will be a long-term decision.  Cessation of dog/dog activities will have to occur for months for you to truly protect your dog.  Keeping them away from other dogs for one week will not help.  As I said earlier, this URI has been around for months….it did not just happen in the past 48 hours.  And stopping socialization is not a guarantee.  I can think of two households who were affected by Canine Cough this past summer.  The dogs do not go to daycare, boarding, grooming, dog parks, or have play dates and they still ended up with Canine Cough.
  • Talk to your veterinarian.  The Canine Influenza Virus vaccination may or may not help.  This is a conversation you should have with them.
  • If you do have an immunocompromised dog at home, dog/dog socialization outside of the home may not be the wisest choice at this time. Old age is not necessarily immunocompromised.  I’m talking about dogs with chronic illness or puppies that have not been fully vaccinated. 
  • If your dog starts coughing, keep them home, and let us know. We will be tracking this closely.  

As always, we appreciate the trust you place in us, in caring for your family member.   

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