Mystery Respiratory Dog Illness


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Note: this is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, recommend or cure. Always work with a veterinarian, but feel free to use this as a resource with your vet! 


Information about this mystery illness is still being developed, and there is a lot we don’t know. That said, we are seeing that it is highly contagious and can spread through direct contact or water droplets from sneezes, coughs or shared water bowls.

Many dogs are experiencing the same clinical signs as canine influenza and kennel cough. Pet parents whose dogs got sick have noticed they are starting with a cough.

This cough doesn’t respond to conventional treatment and can last several weeks, which can develop into pneumonia. What makes it mysterious is these dogs are testing negative for any of the common respiratory illnesses.

As of today, there has been a case where a broad spectrum veterinary antibiotic, Chloramphenicol, has helped a dog recover. Note, many veterinarians have told me this should be a last resort treatment option based on its extreme potency. 


Some things I’ve done to lessen the chances of my dogs getting sick are:

    • First and foremost, boosting their immune system (to avoid my dogs from getting severe symptoms if they are exposed)
    • This includes: keeping my dogs physically and mentally active to reduce stress and provide fresh air
    • Continue my regular vet checkups, and take in right away if any symptoms
    • Avoiding dog parks (which I do anyway)
    • Avoiding doggy daycares/boarding facilities
    • Not allowing my dogs to interact with other pets outside of my home
    • Wiping paws and noses after each walk
    • Washing my hands as well to keep my dogs safe
  • Although professionals are not quite sure exactly what this mystery illness is, here are some clinical signs we, as informed pet parents, can look for:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Labored Breathing
  • Nose or eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pale or blue gums
  • 2


    As mentioned above, boosting my dogs’ immune system is my #1 priority in keep them safe. I learned this some several veterinarians following this case closely, Dr Zac, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Judy Morgan, Dr. Christman, Dr. Jones.

    I promote immune system health via diet, lifestyle, nutraceuticals/supplements, controlling the controllable and protecting the lungs.

    Protecting the Lungs

    Remember, lungs are the first barrier to pathogenic invasion. This means removing any lung or respiratory irritant like: candles, scented wall plug-ins, toxic room sprays, scented laundry detergent. All of these scented products contain VOCs, which are highly irritating and toxic.


    Diet is the foundation of health, especially right now. And we have to remember that most of the immune system is in the gut, so I focus on feeding species appropriate diets as much as possible (i.e. foods dogs are biologically designed to consumer). 

    I feed a complete and balanced raw or gently cooked diet, which is rich in protein and healthy fats, which mimics our dog’s ancestral dietary needs. More importantly, I avoid foods excessive simple carbohydrates (which can promote inflammation) and cheap fillers (like corn, wheat, soy).

    My favorite dog food brands: CLICK HERE


    I still walk my dogs, because exercise is critical to keep stress low and overall health, but I avoid highly dog populated areas. I even let my dogs sniff (which is highly enriching), but have limited it a bit to avoid exposure. 

    Even in the colder months, I try to open the windows for a bit each day to allow fresh air in. I also use air filters and water filters. 


    Medicinal mushrooms have a ton of benefits including boosting immunity. Some of my favorites are:

  • Breathe by MycoDog (protects the heart & lungs)
  • Real Mushooms (5 defenders for immune support)
  • Other Supplements that Support Immune Health

  • Soil based Probiotic (gut health)
  • Colostrum (immune supporter)
  • Super Food Topper (daily fermented topper)
  • Colloidal Silver (antimicrobial and healing)
  • Whole Foods I’d Feed if Clinical Signs Show

  • Manuka honey (natural antibacterial + antiviral)
  • I give my large dogs 1tsp daily of manuka, dissolved in luke warm broth
  • Decaf green tea (natural antibacterial + antiviral)
  • Organic Slippery Elm (soothes the throat)
  • Bone broth (slightly warmed)

    The most important thing to remember is to not panic! I know it’s a scary situation. I am focusing on controlling the controllable, keeping my stress low, and keeping my pets’ immune systems healthy.

    Even if you’re feeding kibble or canned food, adding whole foods like wild blueberries (antioxidants), and hydrating the food with decaf green tea can help!

    Click here for my free vet approved meal topper guide!

    Another thing I have done is call my local vet hospital to see if there are any reported cases. This way you can get an idea about how many dogs have gotten sick in your specific area and risk assessment.

    I also still take my dogs for walks and allow them to sniff, of course avoiding the areas where dogs gather. Exercise and fresh air are important and are okay with the right precautions. 

    Please feel free to share this with your vet as a resource!


    Dr. Andrew Jones, Dr. Zac Pilossoph, Dr. Judy Morgan, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Adam Christman

    Note: this is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, recommend or cure. Always work with a veterinarian, but feel free to use this as a resource with your vet! 

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