Holiday 2023

The mysterious dog illness: What you need to know

Take these important steps toward protecting your pet against this unidentified respiratory disease.

You may have heard recent news about a respiratory disease affecting dogs across the United States. As your partner in protecting your pet’s health, we wanted to share some tips to help keep your pup safe.

What we know about the mysterious dog illness

The yet-to-be-identified illness is believed to be a form of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC). Dogs that interact with other dogs at groomers, dog parks or doggie day care seem to be most affected.

Symptoms include persistent cough, sneezing, runny nose or eyes, fever, tiredness, decreased appetite and—in rare cases—difficulty breathing. Serious disease is being reported in a small but significant subset of infected dogs. Most dogs recover with veterinary care, and no people or other species have been diagnosed so far.

What do the experts say?

The jury is still out on what’s behind these localized spikes. While it’s possible there’s a novel virus afflicting all these coughing dogs, it’s also very possible that a potent but otherwise common respiratory illness is the culprit.

How worried should pet families be?

Awareness is good, but fear is usually counterproductive. First, don’t panic. We often see an increase in respiratory illness this time of year, much like in humans when common colds and flus tend to circulate.

However, a degree of caution is advisable. This is especially true for pets that may be susceptible to illness due to age, breed or other health concerns.

Take steps now to minimize your dog’s risk

While veterinary researchers and experts figure out exactly what’s going on, it’s best to take steps to limit risk for your pet.

Ensure vaccinations are up to date

If your pup is going to be around other dogs during the holidays, make sure they are vaccinated against canine influenza, Bordetella and parainfluenza. If they’re not up to date on these vaccinations, contact your vet as soon as possible as vaccines often take 1-2 weeks to become effective.

Limit contact with other dogs

Since this is an infectious disease, avoid boarding, grooming or visits to the dog park if you can. If you cannot avoid it, ensure your dog has the above vaccinations to reduce their risk of illness.

What should I do if my dog gets sick?

Contact the VetHelpline®

A virtual veterinary check-in is a good first step if you’re unsure whether your pet needs veterinary attention or symptoms are mild. The Nationwide VetHelpline® app offers easy 24/7 access to licensed veterinary professionals from anywhere via video chat.

Best of all, Nationwide pet insurance members get unlimited access to VetHelpline at no cost. Simply download the new VetHelpline app and schedule an appointment.

Contact a veterinarian

If more severe signs are present, your dog should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately:

  • Weakness or severe depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid worsening of disease
  • Cough that is causing significant problems such as vomiting or periods of respiratory distress

Take extra special care with:

  • Senior pets
  • Pets with existing medical conditions
  • Shorter-snout brachycephalic breeds like pugs and Frenchies

Until we know more about this current situation, we advise calm and caution (and plenty of cuddles with your pooch at home.)

Our veterinary experts are keeping close watch on the situation as it evolves. In the meantime, Nationwide is wishing you a safe and healthy winter season with your pet.

Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet

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