- Hello Jeff - The Colorado vets and labs dealing with
this outbreak are stymied by this outbreak. There is speculation that
they may be dealing with a virus that has not been isolated or even a new
- At this time, it does not appear to be deadly as the
dogs do not die. They do take about 3 weeks to recover.
- At this point in time vets think that the outbreak is
winding down. They are testing the dogs for H1N1 but it is thought any
positive results would be a long shot.
- Local Colorado Outbreak In Dogs Stymies Vets, Labs
- By Rachael Whitcomb
- DVM News Magazine, Veterinary News (edited)
- About 150 dogs in Durango, Colorado, have fallen ill
with what one local veterinarian can only call a "mystery."
- "We're in a tourist town, so generally after the
holidays, there's a little surge of kennel cough," says Dr Stacee
Santi, managing veterinarian at Riverview Animal Hospital in Durango.
- But around mid-February , she started seeing a
"skyrocketing" number of dogs presenting with a cough much thicker
than those suffering from kennel cough and some that had progressed to
- "It was really bizarre," she says, adding the
dogs typically were not responsive to antibiotic treatment.
- At a quarterly meeting of the Four Corners Veterinary
Association, comprised of all the veterinary practices in Durango, Santi
discovered that other veterinarians in town were seeing the same thing.
About 150 in all -- 50 at her practice alone-are suspected to have succumbed
to the mystery ailment, but none died and all have made full recoveries
after about 3 weeks.
- The primary complaint of clients was the dog's cough,
but Santi says clinical signs also included low-grade fever, nasal discharge
varying from clear to thick, and occasional conjunctivitis. The coughing
ranged from a dry cough similar to that found with kennel cough turning
into a more moist cough, Santi says.
- About 75 percent of the dogs identified to be suffering
from clinical signs of the same ailment had spent time at a local dog daycare
facility, but a number of the center's "regulars" showed no signs.
Santi says the owner's dogs -- who regularly attend the daycare -- have
not gotten sick. Veterinarians in neighboring towns have not seen any cases,
either, Santi says.
- "I don't know if we're dealing with a new virus
that hasn't been isolated or a new form of the flu. At this point it's
kind of up in the air," Santi says.
- Samples were sent to the US Department of Agriculture
and other veterinary epidemiologists, but experts have not confirmed the
ailment yet, she says. About 75 percent of the samples were negative for
everything, and others had some positives for more common infections, but
the results were not consistent for any one particular problem, Santi explains.
The samples have been negative so far for H3N8, canine influenza. Santi
consulted with Dr Cynda Crawford of the University of Florida College of
Veterinary Medicine, who told her canine flu has not been found to mutate
- "She doesn't think we're dealing with a new strain,"
says Santi. "So at this point we're moving forward." Testing
is now being done for H1N1, "but everyone seems to pretty much think
it's a long shot."
- The outbreak seems to be winding down now, Santi says.
But at its peak, her clinic was seeing 2 to 3 cases a day. "I'm kind
of feeling like it's dying down, and the other vets are feeling the same
- What's not dying down, however, is the interest in the
sick dogs of Durango. "I've probably been getting 10 emails a day
from people ... they want access to the samples," Santi says, adding
the calls are from individuals in academia, research, and drug companies.
- Veterinarians consulting with Santi declined to comment
on their research, which is sponsored, but say it's an "interesting
- Communicated by: HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- The doggy day care is an interesting connection. Of the
animals that have not been to the doggy day care, did they have direct
contact with those that had? This would take some epidemiological legwork
but it might track down the source of the situation. I also wonder what
illnesses did the people at the day care center have? If there was human
illness, perhaps it was passed to the dogs.
- Durango, in south western Colorado, can be located on
the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at http://healthmap.org/r/0C6P.
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural
Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases"
message board at: http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also
my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai
sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health
- Benjamin Franklin said, "They that can give
up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety."