Canine pneumovirus is a one of several diseases which makeup the Canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) complex. These consist of several contagious diseases which cause respiratory disease in dogs. Canine pneumovirus is a newer virus, which was first identified in the United States in 2010. Since then, dogs with pneumovirus have been detected in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The virus is specific to dogs, meaning people and other pets are not affected.

Clinical signs of a pneumonvirus infections can range from subclinical (no clinical signs) to severe illness. Common clinical signs are similar to other respiratory diseases in dogs which include fever, rapid breathing, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and conjunctivitis. Pneumonia may develop in severe cases.

While there are vaccines available for other canine infectious respiratory diseases such as kennel cough and canine influenza, there currently is no vaccine for pneumovirus. Testing via nasal swab, which most of us are all too familiar with these days, is available if needed.

If you suspect your dog has pneumovirus, or one of the other canine infectious respiratory diseases, isolation is key to preventing spread. Keep your dog away from other dogs by avoiding areas like the dog park or the dog beach where it can spread to other pets.

Depending on the severity, patients may not require any treatment. Others may be treated with antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections. Since this is a virus, antibiotics are not affective against the disease itself. Cough suppressants may be recommended as well. Severe cases can require hospitalization and more aggressive treatment.

The best way to prevent Canine pnuemovirus or any of the other Canine infectious respiratory diseases is to limit contact with other dogs. Avoid any dogs who are coughing or appear unwell. If your dog spends time around other dogs, vaccination for kennel cough and canine influenza is recommended as well.

There is much we still don’t know about the current canine pneumovirus in Palm Beach County. Using caution around other dogs is recommended. If have any questions or suspect your dog may have been exposed, contact our team.