What to know about the mysterious dog respiratory illness for Humboldt dog owners

Photo courtesy of Cady Gambrell

There are no reports of this illness in Humboldt. However, there have been reports in at least a dozen states.


The talk of social media this week has been a mysterious respiratory illness in dogs. It’s shown up in at least a dozen states. Researchers are struggling to understand what kind of respiratory infection is affecting dogs around the United States, a local veterinarian shares that respiratory infections in dogs are usually low. 

“What’s unusual is the symptoms for this particular category of respiratory illness,” said Joy Fox-Beaudet, a Veterinarian at the Arcata Animal Hospital. “It’s not behaving like our typical ones. It doesn’t seem to be responding to antibiotics readily, which if it’s viral, some of the viral ones we see don’t.”

It’s not known exactly how many cases there are, where the disease began or the current fatality rate. In Humboldt, there are no reports so far of this illness, but there’s also no organization that tracks these illnesses in dogs. But there’s no need to panic.

“I think sometimes when we’re looking at things on the internet, in the media, it has a tendency to become kind of overwhelming and seem maybe bigger than it is and more alarming than it is,” Fox-Beaudet said. “And while this is concerning and one needs to be cautious, one doesn’t need to be afraid or panic about anything.”

Basic common sense precautions can help prevent the spread like don’t take your dogs to the dog park, no sharing water or food with other dogs and make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccines. 

With this illness going around, Redwood News wondered about precautions at local doggy daycares. The Woodcroft Doggy Day Camp in Eureka is practicing similar COVID-19 strategies before a dog is dropped off.  

“We’re just being really preventative,” said Hannah Hudson, the owner of Woodcroft Doggy Day Camp. “We put out an infographic to all of our customers about what symptoms to look for. We’re screening our dogs at drop off. We’re also not allowing dogs that have been to other facilities, dog parks, training, those kinds of things in the last ten days, unless it’s private. Every dog that’s gone out of state to wait two weeks before coming in just to make sure that we are quarantining our dogs.”

The disease appears similar to kennel cough and it seems to spread more easily in high-volume areas like dog parks. If your dog shows those symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

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