Upper respiratory infections in dogs

From the Massachusetts State Veterinarian
Dr. Lorraine O'Connor

There was a report from a NH practice in the fall about a couple of respiratory cases that progressed quickly to pneumonia. We just got a report about 2 dogs from a boarding kennel that appear to have had a quick onset fatal pneumonia. Test results still pending.

The below information from the RI State Veterinarian is important. Massachusetts vets should report these weird cases so that we can try to figure it out. New England borders are pretty porous. 

View the reportable disease list HERE.

From Rhode Island State Veterinarian

Deputy Chief, RI Department of Environmental Management

Dr. Scott Marshall


Dear Colleagues,


Last fall my office received a report from a practice that had been seeing an unusual number of upper respiratory infections in dogs. That practice reported the dogs they were seeing presented as “kennel cough” but were refractory to empirical treatments and some cases progressed to pneumonia. Most cases were not taken to an etiological diagnosis, however they did submit test results on a single patient that was positive for mycoplasma. This was not a surprising diagnosis. 


I had not heard anything further on this until the past couple weeks where two additional veterinarians contacted me to report the same. One practice said they had attempted to reach a diagnosis but routine testing for common pathogens didn’t yield a diagnosis. The panel she submitted used PCR to test for the usual infectious causes of canine upper respiratory disease.


I am concerned about these reports. Technically, the only upper respiratory pathogens that are required to be reported are distemper and canine influenza https://rules.sos.ri.gov/regulations/part/250-40-05-11 . That said, I think it would be helpful to have a meeting with veterinarians who may be seeing increased cases of respiratory infections in dogs to discuss findings, diagnoses, and outcomes. I am not aware of any emerging canine disease being reported to any of my state vet colleagues, but I do think this warrants a discussion among you all.