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Dog disease spreading in Charlottesville- local clinic says ‘epidemic’

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Dog Disease Spreading Like Wildfire

WDBJ7 reports that veterinarians in Virginia are warning pet owners that there is a mysterious dog disease in Charlottesville that is spreading among dogs in the area. The disease is hitting dogs that are “well vaccinated”. It can last for weeks and is similar to whooping cough, although it apparently can resolve on its own without vaccines.

The Autumn Trails Veteriniary Center in Charlottesville told CBS 19 that it appears to be highly contagious, with more than 150 cases seen in the community in the past month. Vets are trying to determine what exactly the disease is and how to treat it. Upon reaching out to other local vets, they’ve stated they believe that there is an epidemic underway in the Charlottesville area. The mysterious dog disease presents symptoms such as:

  • mild to severe coughing
  • sneezing
  • low grade fevers
  • lethargy

Emily Gordon, manager of Autumn Trails, suspects that the sickness is being widely spread through dog parks, groomers, boarding and kennel facilities. She cautions that pet owners should be hesitant to socialize their dogs until the illness is contained. Any dogs that exhibit the symptoms in their clinics are immediately isolated. They request that pet parents who bring in their dogs suspecting they have got the disease advise vet staff beforehand so that proper precautions may be taken to prevent the spread of the disease to unaffected dogs.

Autumn Trails Veterinary Center in Charlottesville, Virginia has seen 22 dogs with the disease since Thursday, while other vet clinics have seen more than 40 dogs with a cough over the last month. It can last up to three weeks.


However, many locals in the area say that it is irresponsible to call the outbreak an epidemic and that the situation is apparently being over-hyped. The result is that many groomers and local pet facilities are being hurt by the news as dog owners keep their pets away, while others suggest that the whole thing is simply a ploy to get more owners to pay for vaccines. Some vets believe that the dogs need to be re-vaccinated for parainfluenza or bordetella, which can cause kennel cough (similar to a dog cold). Others point out that it makes no sense to re-vaccinate these dogs as they’ve already been known to be vaccinated for those particular diseases. Additionally, Autumn Trail vets have also stated that they do not know the cause or treatment for the disease as yet so the vaccines could prove to be a useless step.

Could there be an epidemic in humans caused by dogs? Read our article here:

Dog Flu – will the new strains discovered in China spread to humans like the 2009 swine flu pandemic H1N1 did in 2009?

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