MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The highly contagious canine respiratory virus that has Miami-Dade Animal Services urging dog owners to get their pets vaccinated and limit dog to dog contact has been identified as Canine Pneumovirus, a fairly new respiratory virus in dogs, according to Miami -Dade Animal Services.
The virus, which has not been widely studied, has an incubation period of less than a week, and can be spread before dogs develop symptoms. Most symptoms are mild, including sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and coughing, but it can lead to pneumonia in more severe cases.
READ MORE: SW Dade Grass Fire Charred 110 Acres
It is one of viruses in the Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC.)
“Canine infectious respiratory disease complex is like a canine flu or canine cold. It’s multiple viruses that affect the respiratory tract and causes respiratory symptoms. Sneezing, coughing, and hacking,” said Dr. Maria Serrano, a veterinarian at Animal Services.
According to Miami-Dade Animal Services, there has been a recent increase in the number of CIRDC cases reported throughout South Florida.
“Stay away from places that have dogs conglomerating. So, dog parks, groomers, just anywhere where there’s a lot of dogs together. Also, avoid nose to nose contact between dogs,” said Serrano.
Miami-Dade Animal Services has temporarily suspended the following dog related services at their Pet Adoption and Protection Center in Doral.
- Wellness Clinic – Spay/Neuter surgeries, vaccinations, microchipping
- Receiving – Owner surrender
- Offsite pet adoption events
READ MORE: Rollover Crash Kills At Least One Person In Miami Gardens
The virus is spread by direct contact with an infected dog and by contact with people who have been exposed to the virus. The virus can be carried on people’s clothing, hands, and on items such as food/water bowls, collars/leashes, toys, and bedding.
However, it is easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing, and washing bowls and toys with soap and water.
Dr. Serrano said the virus passes through droplets in the air and is highly contagious. She said dog owners should treat it like COVID, keep a safe distance from other dogs because it has the potential to be dangerous.
“It can progress to something more serious, pneumonia, fever, lethargy, not eating,” she said.
Since it’s a virus, there is no antibiotic to treat the sickness.
MORE NEWS: Dog Owners Warned Of Highly Contagious Virus Spreading Across South Florida
Humans and cats can’t catch the virus.