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Health & Wellness

Respiratory illness affecting dogs

Fetch Pet Insurance is dedicated to keeping you informed and continuing to provide the most comprehensive pet insurance coverage in the industry. In light of recent news on a respiratory illness affecting dogs, we want to provide information, guidance and peace of mind.  

Respiratory infections in dogs, also known as canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD), are very common and often caused by many bacteria, viruses or a combination of all of the above. In certain areas, there may be an uptick in cases due to environmental factors and increased contact with infected dogs and/or contaminated objects. However, since every dog is unique, it’s imperative you contact your veterinarian should you have any concerns. Here are key points to consider:

  1. Stay informed: Rely on credible sources like your veterinarian and the American Veterinary Medical Association for updates. At this time, the exact cause is unknown, and researchers are still investigating.
  2. Symptom awareness: Watch for signs like coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, increased or difficulty breathing, sleepiness or decreased appetite. Contact your vet if you notice any symptoms and avoid contact with other dogs until directed by your vet.
  3. Treatment options: In general, typical cases of CIRD are mild and resolve on their own. Certain dogs are at a higher risk of severe illness including young puppies and senior dogs with compromised immune systems, dogs with chronic illnesses and brachycephalic breeds (think Frenchies and Pugs) with abnormal airways.
  4. Vaccination status: Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines like distemper (also known as DAPP/DHPP), Bordetella and canine influenza (flu) vaccines. While it’s unknown if these are linked to recent cases, they may prevent or minimize CIRD.
  5. Environmental considerations: Assess your environment for irritants and use air purifiers and humidifiers as needed. Avoid contact with dogs of unknown vaccination status, sick dogs and groups of dogs in indoor environments and dog parks. 
  6. Regular check-ups: Schedule routine veterinary check-ups for preventive care. While this is not covered under Fetch’s Accident and Illness policy, it would be covered if you have Fetch Wellness. For more information, visit our wellness page.

We will provide updates as new information arises.

Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, MS is the Fetch Chief Veterinary Officer & Director of Veterinary Affairs at Fetch. She serves on the Veterinary Advisory Board and is the liaison between the Advisory Board and Fetch.

For additional information, please visit:

  1. American Veterinary Medical Association: Canine infectious respiratory disease complex 
  2. Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: Canine infectious respiratory disease in Oregon 
  3. Colorado State University: Respiratory illness strikes canine community in Colorado’s Front Range, CSU veterinarians warn

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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