.Dog Virus Hasn’t Hit Santa Cruz

A respiratory illness has been causing dogs to fall ill nationally, but local vets say not to worry

In the past week, a mysterious upper respiratory illness has been causing canines around the country to fall ill—luckily, according to local vets, Santa Cruz dog owners don’t need to worry too much. 

“The belief of researchers is that it’s nothing new—it’s a combination of different ailments that have been commonly seen,” says Dr. David Schuman, veterinarian and owner of Westside Animal Hospital. “It’s not a new virus per se. It’s just a new understanding.” 

Schuman says that this sickness making headlines nationally is a combination of a few different viruses and bacteria that normally hit dogs: things like kennel cough, canine influenza, strep. But so far, Schuman says he isn’t seeing any abnormal uptick in canine respiratory illnesses that would lead him to believe the virus being talked about nationally is here. 

“We see enough dogs on a routine basis that I would think that if we saw a big, dramatic uptick, we get some sense of it,” Schuman says. “Dogs are very provincial. It’s very rare that dogs travel. So a dog in New Hampshire that’s sick, it’s very unlikely that sickness is going to rapidly spread across the country and end up in California.” 

Calls to a few local animal hospitals confirms what Schuman says: so far, local hospitals aren’t seeing anything out of the norm. 

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Schuman says if people want to take precautions, avoid areas with other dogs. If your furry friend is sick, take normal steps and bring the canine into a veterinarian to determine if treatment for a virus or a bacteria is necessary. 

“Do all the normal cautionary things that you would but don’t lose sleep and don’t panic,” Schuman says.  

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Aiyana Moya
News Editor
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