Canine upper respiratory illness spikes in the Triad

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Local veterinarians tell FOX8 a contagious infection they call "Canine Upper Respiratory Infectious Disease" is hitting the Triad.

“In as many years as I’ve been practicing, I’ve never seen the cases come in this high of numbers,” said Dr. Rebecca Slivka, a veterinarian at Northwood Animal Hospital.

Catching a ball and chasing squirrels at the park is a dream to most dogs. But a contagious infection is keeping some dogs out of the park.

“I’m just fearful that if another dog were to have it and the owner not know, how would it be contracted,” said Elena Patton, a pet owner.

Dr. Slivka has treated 25 sick dogs from this airborne disease in the last four weeks.

She hasn't seen this many cases in such a short amount of time after almost a decade at Northwood

“That’s actually pretty shocking. Typically we might just see one or two cases a month,” Dr. Slivka said.

Now the clinic is seeing one or two a day.

The illness first popped up in the Triad over the summer. As of Tuesday, hundreds of dogs of all ages have gotten sick.

“Every time I come here, I go back home and I will just clean the bowls as well as I can to get anything possible out of there that could cause harm to her,” Patton said.

Infected dogs will have a hacking cough, gagging, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and a high fever.

If caught early, it’s treatable. If not, it can cause other infections like pneumonia.

“Hopefully [she] doesn’t catch whatever this is but heading into the season where we’re going to have to put her somewhere, it’s something to think about. That’s for sure,” said Pat Holmes, a pet owner.

If you think your dog is starting to get sick, take them to the vet immediately.

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