Canine Respiratory Disease Information

There has recently been a lot of media attention surrounding canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), so we wanted to share what the veterinary community knows so far.  This illness causes pneumonia and does not respond to antibiotics.  Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and lethargy. Some cases of pneumonia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours. There are reported cases in Oregon, and as of Monday some suspected cases in Spokane primarily from a single shelter.

The Washington State Veterinary Medical Association released this statement last week “Respiratory disease outbreaks are relatively common at this time of year.  It is unclear whether the stories in the media are about a new respiratory disease or the more commonly experienced seasonal diseases such as Kennel Cough.”

Unfortunately, there is not a lot known about this new illness yet.  Our best recommendations are:

  • Don’t panic. Serious disease is being reported in only a small subset of infected dogs, and most dogs that get CIRDC recover uneventfully.
  • Make sure your dogs are appropriately vaccinated to protect them from respiratory and other diseases.  These vaccines include Distemper/Parainfluenza, Bordetella, and Canine Influenza. If you have questions about your pet’s vaccine status, you can view your medical records on our clinic app available here or email our front desk for a copy of your vaccine certificate.
  • A coughing dog that is otherwise perky, eating, and active usually does not warrant a vet visit. If the cough does not clear up after a few days or your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, give us a call or contact an after-hours Emergency facility if we are closed:
  • Weakness, severe depression (meaning the dog is really quiet, not engaged and just lies around, doesn’t get up for usual activities like meals/walks, etc.)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing (breathing faster and harder even when not exercising)
  • Rapid worsening of illness
  • Cough that is causing significant problems such as vomiting or making it hard for the dog to breathe

It’s especially important to see the veterinarian if these signs occur in a high-risk dog, including:

  • Elderly
  • Very young
  • Pregnant
  • Immunocompromised (by disease or treatment)
  • Underlying heart or respiratory tract disease
  • Brachycephalic (i.e., squish-faced breeds like Frenchies, bulldogs, etc.)

Respiratory diseases are contracted by exposure to sick dogs via airborne particles, saliva and mucous. So, it is also recommended that if you hear of local respiratory disease, you should avoid dog parks, daycare and boarding facilities, shared drinking bowls, and other areas where multiple dogs are grouped together.  If your pup is a homebody or only has visits with other small, trusted, vaccinated cohorts (neighborhood walking groups, family member’s pets) their risk is relatively low.

As always, we are here to help you make the best medical decisions for your pets. If you have any concerns or your pet develops symptoms, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

North Seattle Veterinary Clinic Reviews

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I love NSVC! I’m a neurotic pet parent who reaches out to them frequently. Everyone is super professional and patient with me and is very responsive to my questions and concerns. They do a fantastic job caring for my dog and he loves them.
Kathy W.

We absolutely love every one of the vets at North Seattle Veterinary Clinic (and we’ve seen most of them over our tenure there). They’re all wonderfully attentive, good at listening to concerns, and wonderful with our dog. We’ve referred (and will continue to refer) many friends to North Seattle Vet!
Beth B.

NSVC has been so professional and organized. I also feel like I’m taken seriously as a rabbit parent. My past veterinarian at another establishment could be quite flippant and I just got tired of it. If I had known that NSVC saw rabbits, hamsters, etc., I would have switched years ago!
Anna P.

Dr. Nathanson and other staff are always so kind to our kitty and at ease with her that it makes the whole visit easy despite Mango’s nervousness at the vet. Dr. Nathanson also got our blood-work results to us immediately which we appreciated. We always feel we are in good hands with NSVC, and that people genuinely care about our cat(s) – their love of animals is so apparent.
Sharon B.

Been going here for 20 or more years with my rescues, and pets and have gotten the best care for my pets. I have seen each of the vets in this practice and all of them take tremendous time and effort with my pets. They go above and beyond, and during Covid they have been there for us, and for their other patients. These people are hard working, kind, and so helpful. Would highly recommend them. They have been there for us, and they will for you and your pets too.
Annika B.

NSVC has been taking care of my family’s pets for nearly 3 decades and it has consistently been a positive experience. I am so grateful.
Dirk M.

I can’t say enough good things about this clinic. They are the BEST. Everyone I encountered was wonderful. Knowledgeable, kind and really care about your pet.
Julie A.

I trust the vets at North Seattle to give the best care integrating practices based on their experience & research in vet medicine. Plus they always are welcoming, friendly and field all my questions.
Patti T.

As always, you are all great people who treat Toby with great affection, and I trust you completely.
Jane E.

I feel rather anxious when Butters has any issues so I am so grateful for the great care she has received at your clinic; I trust the diagnosis & that all possible angles have been considered.
Kricket K.

Great team, super helpful. They take great care of the animals they treat.

Phil J.

I am always impressed by the staff and doctors at North Seattle Veterinary Clinic. My dogs get excited when we pull up to visit (no joke!)!! Thank you for making our family feel cared for and loved!
Suzanne S.