Join us on this episode as Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield explore the mysterious canine respiratory disease outbreak. In this episode:
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of chats with the Chatfields. We're your hosts. I'm Dr. Jen, the vet.
And I'm Dr. Jason.
And if you have not yet subscribed to our show, why not? subscribe today. And if you want to reach us, and you've got a message full of love and positivity, you can reach me at Jen@Chatfieldshow.com.
And for everyone else with serious inquiries, you can reach me at Jason@Chatfieldshow.com.
Okay, welcome, everybody. New Year, we're kicking it off. And we are talking about that very popular topic today. The mysterious, I feel like we should have background music. Hopefully producers have dropped it in the mysterious canine respiratory over.
Yep, that's all interesting. And we're gonna get into that in just a minute. But first, I all I really thought you're gonna say New Year New us and I'm like, No, I'm the same what you made change. In the same. Consistency is my goal. Boring is my goal.
It is no lie, everyone. Before we started this show, Dr. Jason told me that boring is where it's at. No drama. And actually, that actually rolls right in today, I think because we are going to be talking about an infectious disease, potentially an infectious disease outbreak. And if you work in infections,
you're already starting with the controversy. Dr. Jen but go ahead. Sorry to interrupt.
Yes, I guess I guess my point is that in infectious, infectious diseases with your pet boring is where that correct? That's my point. Right? Yeah. So you want nothing exciting in the realm of infectious disease if you have a dog, so Okay, so I guess I guess we'll get into it. Yeah. So the background, I think you have to be a pet owner and or a veterinarian kind of living under a rock. To not like, be aware that there's lots of discussion, even the mainstream media and national news have picked up and run stories on the mysterious you know, disease outbreak among dogs, right.
Yeah. Well, part of it is also I mean, let's, let's face it, news is a lot of it's probably what 60% Entertainment, I'm not trying to cause problems. No one No one beat me up on on the social media, but it's like 60% entertainment. And everybody now after the last couple years is super attune to respiratory disease. There was like, I hate to use this, but those, I'm not gonna say it. But those get people's attention those two words. And so if they can apply it to something else, why not? And so they're looking for people to listen, and it's important, it's happening. Or maybe it's not happening, but something's happening. And so they talk about it, for sure. Right?
I get it. We used to say, people, I mean, back when back when you had the newspaper delivered to your home, they would say if it bleeds, it leads, right? And even on the you know, the local news casts and stuff, but now I guess we can try to change it to what it would be like, I
don't know, I was wondering where you're going with that.
If it's sneezes. We read this
is pretty good. Who knows. But if it's got something to do with the respiratory illness virus, we're gonna go with it because people will listen. Right?
Right. If it's a virus you got us.
Yeah. Okay. really affected, affected people like nothing else. So it did.
Okay, so let's talk about it now. We've yammered on enough before talking about the meat of it. So yeah, so there is people lots of stories out there about respiratory disease and dogs with your classic signs, and I guess we should quantify that, by and large, they're talking about an upper respiratory illness. I'm not like a full on full minute pneumonia. They're talking about a respiratory illness, upper respiratory. And yeah, if you want to know the distinction between the two, you can also if you want more information, feel free to check out our recent episode with Dr. Richard stone, where we talked about when a cough isn't just a cough but the signs they're talking about
I think we should demand the listeners listen to that it's apropos it's perfect for what we're about to talk about. I mean, we're going to talk about coughing a ton here I think it
is, well we're not really going to talk about coughing like like so let's wait first let's let's do this in a reasonable order in a systemic systematic fashion, right, shall we clinical signs of this disease that that people are talking about? And we don't even have a
name for it like we just as long it's such a vague a amorphous sort of, you know, group of symptoms that we don't have a test for Okay, okay, so I wish we had something to call it right disease x, but that's almost too much. I have no idea.
These x is too crazy. town right now we're not like, let's not ratchet it up to DEFCON five.
So we'll just have to muddle through the long. Yes. description of what it is. Okay.
Right. So the thing that people are talking about now it doesn't. And and I'm just gonna say, right, we have to say is this anything? Right? Right? I should we say it with like the like, the, the way it should be.
If you can get that in the background, that would be great. We should do that. Just this
anything. Yeah. And if you know, you know, that's all I'm saying. But it is upper respiratory starts upper respiratory plus or minus a fever, coughing sneezing, plus or minus ocular discharge, ocular nasal discharge. So runny eyes, runny nose, plus or minus a bit of anorexia, a dog's just a little bit off their feed, plus or minus some lethargy,
that sort of thing or specific signs. I'm telling you what,
that's right. So here's, here's what you're what you're reading. You're what you're Yeah. What's your ADR they ain't do and write down with a cough or sneeze
or sneeze. And actually, some
people are saying like, they don't always have the copper sneeze. All right, stop.
Yeah, everything right? Yes.
So here's the struggle, here's what your brain is reaching for your brain is reaching for a case definition. That's what it's looking for. And that's what like, and that's what pet owners are asking. They're like, well, so how do I know if my dog has it? Whatever it is, and you're looking for that case definition, especially for epidemiologically. So epidemiologically, you start with a case definition. And it'll have those clinical signs. It'll have a time, you know, a range of time, it'll have usually a Geograph on
this mean, like, how long has been going on? But you mean by range of time, like you started three days ago? Or like, What do you mean? No,
like, what, like when it's diagnosed? So so if you're a kid, so a case definition is used to rule to group in or group out a specific animal into that outbreak. Okay, so that then we say, are we calling this an outbreak now? People are people are now I don't think that's appropriate. I don't think that's accurate, because we don't have a case definition. Okay, so So let's move through the nitty gritty here first, and then we can debate whether or not we have anything?
Well, it's so hard to talk about it since it's it really is like we both read about it. And we both are probably a little more important. Well, for sure you a little more informed than it said the general public. And it's still a difficult thing to sort of talk about concisely, because it seems to be I mean, look at the typical signs you just listed of this mysterious illness, it's been it's been happening. It's like every single sign of a dog is not doing right could be a ton of things, right could be a one of a zillion things. So so it's difficult to talk about and debate.
So in an outbreak in a defined outbreak situation, you first you get that case definition, it starts out really broad like that, right? Because you don't know if you have anything, and and then one thing you get is you get a diagnostic result. So you get a test result. So you would say Do they have some combination of these clinical signs? And then when we test them, do we get this? So let's talk about that, because everyone's talking about looking for what pathogen is causing all of this disease in dogs. And so I just happen to have access to all of the respiratory PCR results for the last 12 months from one of the larger commercial labs. Oh, wow. Yes. And I can tell you that the restaurant PCR results are a bit all over the place. There's no single pathogen causing Yes, 70%
are caused by right or 70% of dogs presenting with these signs have this none of that right, nothing. So watch that movie, it'd be 95%, right? Oh, God, it'd be you'd see a chart and the biggest spike like 95% Okay, but not not so in
real life. No. And in fact, most of them are testing positive for one of the known suspects, like one of the usual suspects and producing canine infectious respiratory disease complex, such as, such as mycoplasma, such as pair influenza. You find the obligatory Bordetella is hanging around, you might find strep Zhou. In fact, there was one article that talked about that they had narrowed it down to strep Zhou epidemic, so strep Zhou causing an outbreak and then they find some pneumo virus and a very particular population of dogs. And, and, but but nobody, it's not like there's one thing happening, right? So so, so we didn't know that you
have access to all Wow we got listen listeners we got we got the end all right you better pay attention to this we know guys you know guys yeah well you know guys are just not listening and
sometimes they know that guy Oh all right so anyway
I thought I was the guy but I guess not nobody knows means
no we say you know you know the guy I know guys who know guys who know that guy in case you need like tire slashed a car flat on fire like you know things like that I got it. Yeah. Okay, so anyway, so so we didn't really have any diagnostic result that is popping up as like the guy the culprit. It is kind of the usual smattering of usual suspects. So that's interesting. Now, there was a lab that that diagnosed a novel pathogen, they found a brand new one in like about 70 dogs, some, a large portion of the 70 dogs they looked at had a new bacteria, and in fact, it was a new mycoplasma, like a new species of mycoplasma is not ordinarily found when we do restauro, PCR dogs. However, not not all the symptomatic dogs had it. And some of the asymptomatic some of the, like not sick dogs had it.
And how accurate is that PCR test pretty good with the is there a lot of a lot of false negatives, meaning meaning they had it, but it didn't show up? Is that a possibility? Or is it pretty? Pretty? Pretty accurate? Pretty good.
So PCR is one of the most accurate diagnostic methods on the planet right now. Right? So PCR just detects any genetic material, right? Yeah. So the sort of the drawback to PCR if you just do a regular what we call legacy PCR is that you don't know if the the microbe that you've detected the presence of you don't know if it was alive or dead. Right? You don't know if it was even the whole microbe. You just know you found a chunk of its genetic material hanging out,
which was some of the controversy with the COVID stuff, right? Yeah. Yes, absolutely.
Right. Like that. The first dog that they found in Hong Kong, that little Pomeranian that they said, Oh my God, we found COVID in his nose.
Yeah, you could have smelled somebody or whatever.
Yeah, He sniffed it. Yeah. Or
maybe it's a detriment. So if it's, there's a little bit there, it's gonna find it. But my question really was, Is it possible that some of those dogs that had the disease, or had the signs actually caused by that novel pathogen, but the PCR did not detect it? That's probably not, not a very high possibility. Does that make sense? Yeah, using statements,
but I'm gonna, I'm gonna clean that up. I'm gonna clarify that. On the other side of break, hold on, hold on a second. We're gonna have a break. Hang with us. We're cutting back we're gonna get you some a conclusion on this. So
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So we're back. Okay, so So Dr. Jason has a very prudent question when we're talking about diagnostics, because we are on the hunt for what may be causing massive respiratory disease in dogs across the country, or at least hotspots of it popping up anyhow. And it's been phallic people have said that it is in like, I don't know, 30 Something states and we don't even know what it is.
Yeah, it's hard to say that if you don't have a concise Yeah, what? There are some dogs with some respiratory problems in every state. So there you go. Exactly.
Right. So that's where we get into it. So you would say that say your question again?
confusing the first time. Okay, what I was trying to ask, was you said not all the dogs that had the disease in question, had this novel pathogen show up on a PCR test? And my question was, Is it possible? There's basically kind of explain how accurate and how reliable the PCR test is. So is it possible that a dog with said symptoms of of this disease actually was caused by the or had presence of this novel pathogen, but then didn't you know show up on the PCR test? So are there a lot of false negatives as we call it with PCR? I'm probably using the wrong word. I see that face. So so.
That was the other way. So so
it was the face.
So the problem would not be that PCR lab was lacking.
Heaven forbid I blamed PCR, right?
molecular diagnostics are just incredible. But the problem or not the problem, but the issue becomes sort of with the disease process itself. So was the dog not shedding the pathogen at the time as possible, like so we know that with McCain and influenza, the dog can 100% be sick with canine influenza. But if you don't test early enough in the disease process, you're you're more likely to get a false negative or get a negative PCR result, even though it is blue, because they shed in the highest amounts early on in disease. So if you don't test in the first three to five days, I would say really, three, three or four days and you get a negative PCR back like on day seven, you could still have flew. And negative PCR tells us basically we got a negative PCR that's all we know. So therein lies the problem with the interpretation of any molecular diagnostics. In Vet Med. Yeah, but
you said that correctly? The negative PCR means a negative PCR, negative PCR, does it mean a dog is free and clear of said disease? Whatever diseases it just means there's a negative PCR Okay. All right, I kind of wanted to clarify that a little bit.
And then upon positive PCR, means you have a positive PCR, it makes the diagnosis more likely, but it's not 100 presents or whatever you were testing. That's correct. And so So, you know, so interpretation of molecular diagnostics is is not as black and white as, as, I think what they thought it was going to be when they first developed the capability for
but like the other day, yeah, and also I blame television shows because 100 on television shows that and in the old test for poison test, oh, oh, that's, that's for, you know, toxin toxin dog.
What does that give you test to see if my dog was poisoned? Yeah,
I mean, no problem. Anyway, that's a whole different soapbox we can get on to But TV is really ruining it and making it hard for academic scientists and medical professionals. So
that Quincy M II, gosh, every other corner. TV, right, every other medical examiner on the planet says, I can 100% test for toxins, which
one which one name is
right, but there's not like, but at the ER, that happens all the time, too. When people come in and say, I don't know, can you test my dog for poison? Yes, we can. And that will very quickly become expensive, because we don't even know like, you gotta give us give us a clue. Right? So okay, so yeah, so So now and and I guess this isn't an episode on PCR. But there there is for everyone right now waiting, waiting, waiting for me to say it. There is a type of PCR that kind of gets over the hump a little bit with some of these issues that we see with legacy PCR. And that's quantitative PCR. It's called quantitative or real time PCR. And so that definitely would get over, Is it viable? Is it the one that's causing the problem? Or is it just present? So that helps get over that we don't need to go? I don't think any further into that that's a whole other episode on its own. And let us know, drop us a line. If you want us to have an episode where we talk about the differences between those molecular diagnostics.
I think that'd be a drop in line. Let's do it. Let's plan ahead and we'll do it. No, I'm not gonna do anything. It's great. We can do it super confusing to me. And if it's confusing to me, I feel like it's confusing to almost everybody.
Yeah, it's actually I don't think it's confusing. It's just something that a lot of people don't are not aware of misunderstood, whatever, you're just Yeah, it's hard. Like, no one person can be aware of everything. And so I feel like it's IT people say, Oh, that's confusing. It's really not it's just one more tool in your toolbox diagnostically when you're looking at these mysterious disease outbreaks, so, okay, so we don't have we don't have anything that's showing up testing positive. We do have, again, we should give kudos. And I think that that lab in New Hampshire, that kind of popped off and said we found a new, you know, new pathogen good on them, for finding it. But we need more information. We need significantly more data before we sort of say, Yes, this produces disease in dogs. Yes, it's producing respiratory pathology in these dogs. And yes, it could become a widespread problem. We're really far from like, we can't even see that for where we are right now with the like description of a novel pathogen. So okay, so that's where we are. Yeah,
where are you mean, that's where we are. We seemingly nowhere Yeah,
so I guess I guess we get to the question of is Is this anything?
Is this anything?
I mean? What do you think?
I think it's very hard to tell. And it's not I'll pick one side you can pick the other doesn't matter. I think it's I think it's hard to tell because part of the beginning part of the problem is, I don't think that the animal disease reporting is nearly as sophisticated as the humans, meaning. I mean, I think I think when we had this past pandemic, it was pretty quick, like to go from point A to Oh, yeah, now we have a problem, because, you know, I think a lot of people communicated, they had certain things look for, but I think with dogs and cats, and anything else, it's sort of really localize Oh, you know, your local VMA may talk about, oh, we have a lot of these respiratory diseases, but they're not even talking to the next three counties over to compare, and it takes a long time for them to sort of, then, you know, talk and then go to state to state starts to be difficult to sort of really tie in, and then I don't know if it's a thing or not, but it does seem that I have seen reports, General reports an increase in an upper respiratory reported cases. Now, I'm not sure we can, we can argue that fact or not, I have no idea. But that's what I, that's where it starts, we have a lot of do Hey, Tom, or do you have a dance? Do you seemingly have more cases of you know, dogs coming in with this cough? And then they start talking about it and delve into the details? And I think that is where we are? Is that right? As a as a nation as a group as a community?
And do I would agree that yes, currently we are basing national news articles on people's perception, right? No, that's what it is, like, like, I have seen no data that actually indicates a significant spike of any concern. What is interesting, and this is another thing is, in Vet Med, we don't test every dog.
Yeah, we don't test every many tested every human for everything. Right. And
part of that is because we know that you can actually drive down the accuracy of a test with just random use, right? It's statistics, look it up. It's statistics don't
wash, you're testing positive for one thing, whatever litter wing signs or not. And so my urge
listening, nerds listening and for veterans listening in it, especially those who took my epidemiology course recently, it is the positive predictive value. So the positive predictive value, and part of the equation to determine that for any test, any diagnostic test that you're running, is the actual prevalence of the disease in the population you're testing. So it's it. And then math happens. And you drive down the positive predictive value, or how likely likely a positive result is actually a positive is actually truly diseased creature. And so I don't think we should be testing every dog randomly that walks in. But here's the thing. So here, what do you what are you going to do about it? Who cares? Like what like, why are people listening right now have to be thinking with them? Right? What's in it for me?
What did you just say? With them?
Yeah, what's in it for me?
It's so funny. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. What do you mean, what's in it for me what they should be worried about? Right? That we've dealt with, by law stuff that most people aren't going to care about, like, positive predictive value there. fast forward through that, right. Listen? Is this gonna affect my dog? Do you want me to go to the ER, what's the real concern? At a real life level? For me? Yeah, whether Dr. Jan or Dr. Jason think that really is something that not is not important to me. Because it right, I care about my dog and my pets.
That's right. And, and, and that's okay. Because if everyone cared about their own, that would actually help like, that would drive down disease. So So here's the thing. So yeah, I mean, what what can you do? And should this? Should you do anything? So there and there's been a lot of opining in the national news on that to friends. There's been there's been our colleagues saying you should not board your dog right now. There's been,
you know, the dog park, but but I would imagine you were super happy to hear some of the stuff don't take your dog to a dog park or talk to any other dogs that you don't know about. Right. I mean, that's just common sense. Yeah. So
yes, so the dog park and also, if you want to know why we think you should, like really assess the value of the dog park before taking your dog there. You could check out our episode where it's I think the title of it is dog park equals cesspool.
shameless self plug Yeah,
for our show. So, so yeah. So if you have now listen, if you have a dog that has compromised, anything compromised immune system, whether they are obese, one of the primary compromising situations for any living creature is obesity. So if you have a fat dog, if you have a dog that has a history of pneumonia, if they've ever had pneumonia, then they are their lungs are more compromised than a dog that has not had pneumonia. So you should be concerned, if you have a dog that has asthma. You should be concerned if you have a dog that has tracheal pathology. So if they have a collapsing trachea, they have of your doctor, your veterinarian has said they have a Hypo plastic trachea. Okay, then we're talking to you if you're smashed
based dogs. Yeah, so people talk about that. Avoiding that I was gonna bring.
I was so so my opinion. And this is just one veterinarians opinion. I don't know that there are any more susceptible to respiratory pathology than others. They have a shorter respiratory, upper respiratory tract. Okay. Does that make small dogs more susceptible than big dogs because they have a smaller respiratory tract. So I don't know that break e's are a problem. Now. If you have a brachiocephalic dog is suffers from bow as syndrome? Right? If they have trouble breathing on a good day, then you certainly don't want to provide them with things that make it harder to breathe. So I do think respiratory illness when they get it if they're a brachiocephalic dog becomes a bigger issue faster hits harder. Yeah, but I don't but it doesn't mean that they're more or less susceptible to infection. Right. Okay. So if you have those dogs, maybe you need to talk to your veterinarian and maybe maybe avoid. Yeah,
that's a good point. So that may not be more susceptible to restaurant infections, but maybe the risk is a bit higher once they Yes, right. Correct. So be aware of that. Does that make sense? It's it's a nuanced sort of distinction. But it's it
is right. It's a distinction with a difference. Yeah. And, and okay, but if you don't, if your dog is like generic dog, you know, with no, no real health issues, just loves the world, and the world loves them, and they're totally healthy. I don't think you really need to change a lot of what you're doing. If you're doing all the things you shouldn't be doing. Are you taking them to the vet?
I think you're doing right, or Yeah, like,
are they up to date on vaccines? And here's, here's, here's the time where it does become important how they got their vaccine. Because if your dog has not been getting an intranasal vaccine, they should make an appointment and get one today. They should. That's the gold standard.
Why is that? A good short answer? That's
the gold standard for preventing upper respiratory infection and your dog.
Yeah. creates a better immune response. Level local local tissue immunity, right. Yeah.
It actually produces systemic immunity to but no one likes talk about that. But But yeah, but the local tissue immunity is what you want, for a multitude of reasons. And that, again, it's a whole other show is where the problem is, it is but it also don't do with the interplay between the pathogens. Okay, whatever.
The problem is, it's one of the problem is,
it is it is,
it's stronger effect, right? Where the problem is, it makes more sense, right? I'm gonna give a shot in my shoulder to fight my lungs or something right on my lungs. Give me a break. Right? Yeah. Yeah.
Your upper respiratory. So yeah, so if they haven't gotten the intro nasal, they should get it. It is a very, very momentary thing. Right? Where they vaccinate your dog up their nose? Well, Jason, don't give me the look, because
you said momentary thing. What does that mean? I don't even know what that means. Well, so
there are veterinarians who say that they don't like to give the intranasal because a dog is uncomfortable for three seconds. Yes. And then like, well, they're not comfortable with a lot of things that happen to the doctor. Listen, I'm not comfortable with a lot of things that happened. My
kids got back to me and they didn't like it. You know what I said? Tough. It's better for you to move on. Yeah.
Yeah. So so if you're veterinarians recommending it, which, honestly, there are very few American dogs these days, whose lifestyle does not merit the recommendation of an engineer. So
we're very social and so are our pets. Yes.
So yes. So you should get that right. If the very least you should ask about it. Okay. And for our Canadian friends, because listen, I've heard this from Canadian with like, because lately I've been talking to a lot of Canadians. They'll say, Oh, we don't lead intranasal vaccine doesn't even exist up here in Canada. You're wrong. It does. It is there. And it's appropriate even for Canadian In dogs, it's appropriate. Yes, again, the other thing is you should get them vaccinated for influenza. Okay.
Yeah. Why should they get them vaccinated? Is this is this just general health practices? Right? But this also helps them with this. If this does actually turn into something, it's going the momentum seems to be going or maybe not. And they actually find something. Yeah, it might be this does actually help them, right? Is it just some random stuff that you want them to go to the vet for? It can actually help them with this, even if it's a novel pathogen, right? Yes.
Or whatever. Especially like, so especially like, let's say I'm wrong? Well,
let's never say that. Well, okay, what
if, what if we are wrong, and this is like a new influenza, a New Canaan influenza that started to circulate and just hasn't yet been identified? There's something called cross protective immunity with influenza is that means that if you're vaccinated for one strain of influenza, and you encounter another strain of influenza, you have you a will help to mitigate right course of disease, so it doesn't hurt. The other thing is that that influenza, all the influenza vaccines that are on the market right now for dogs are killed. Vaccines, which means that there's no live virus in them, which means they do not do not possible they cannot give your dog the flu. Okay. So, so they're safe and the adverse reaction rate is is negligible. So, like, why would you not do it? Yeah. So anyway, so those are the things that you can do, the other thing you can do, and the reason that I say that doggy daycare is not the same as the dog park, is because the dog park is an uncontrolled, open country,
if you can open a gate, you can go, that's the only require mayor, figure out how to get in the gate. You're welcome. Right,
which is totally different than good. If you're going to a good solid doggy daycare or boarding facility. They have requirements, lots of repaints, they are looking to protect the herd that there are trusted with every day. And they're making decisions based on the best interest of the dogs in their care. Right there. They're like the gatekeepers. Right. Totally different. Won't
let dogs in that are fully vaccinated that does that assess what we're talking about. They haven't had a recent, they shouldn't, right, they just shouldn't Well, what you're saying the ones that are good, the ones that have this requirement, otherwise, it's essentially, you know, a dog park, you know, whatever. So,
the dog park, you're paying for it, right? Yeah. So So you want to ask you want to look at it? I mean, you want to see like, and that's the thing you should you should assess facilities, are they? Are they ibpsa members and accredited? Do they have pack certified professionals? You know, working at their place? Do they have veterinarian guiding their protocols for intake for taking your pet in? And then don't be that pet owner? Who are that client where you're late with your dog's vaccinations, and you're just have a meltdown and demand that they put at risk the health of every other pet that they're taking care of that day by taking your dog in? Don't Don't be that person, let's say different
than going to school. Right? I got I got kid a little bit. Not really, I can't I can't do certain ages, you'd have to have certain vaccines, or you do, they will not let you in and say too bad. So sad.
It's true. But you have to take your kid to school like your kid has to be in school somewhere in the United States.
I don't. Yes. Okay. I'm just my point is that it's a gatekeeper for the rest of the herd. It is my point. Right? It is it is. And so yeah, so because you're late for your vacation doesn't mean you need, right, you know, everybody, and if, if
the place that you routinely take your dog doesn't do all these things. We're gonna recommend you find a new one, right? Because it's a matter of time. It's a matter of time. So yeah, because here's the thing, folks, you cannot vaccinate or prevent all. respiratory infection in dogs. You can't. You can't there's no vaccine for mycoplasma, and there probably never will be in our lifetime. I mean, I guess I shouldn't say that anymore, but it's unlikely, mycoplasma is just tricky. Trust me, you could Google it if you want. mycoplasma is tricky for structural reasons to develop a vaccine for and against and so that's why there isn't one. But the upper respiratory vaccination intern nasally actually does do some things to prevent make make infection with mycoplasma less likely, even though it doesn't vaccinate directly from local presence, so but you can't prevent everything.
He knows all this is your local veterinarian. So if you have any questions, go to your local veterinarian on your on your at least annual visit and ask him Hey, Doc, what's happening? What's the cause everything vaccines are super sophisticated. They're always changing. People are always trying to make animals and pets healthier and safer and and it's our job as veterinarians to stay on top of that. And you know, we should know that and we should be able to converse with you about If that if not just listen to all of our episodes every day, you'll learn well, and, and hear.
The other thing is, and, like I recommend this and so I mean, my clients know it when I, when I see them or the clients I see when I when I'm working clinically, I actually for people whose pets are very social. So they they go on walks and see other dogs every time in touch noses, they go to the dog park, or of horrors, or they go to doggy daycare, or they get groomed, or they get boarded a few times a year, etc, their social or they go to other family members homes where there are dogs as well. I recommend that they get the intranasal vaccine every six months, right? Not just every year it is labeled to provide protection for a full year. But I do recommend every six months because no vaccine is 100% and an overwhelming exposure situation which you could find yourself in. In fact, those dogs that routinely are boarded and go to doggy daycare find themselves so I say twice a year so
awesome. Twice you're up the nose engineers are only or Dr. Jin will hunt you down Listen, but we were talking about not about vaccines. We already had several episodes about that we were talking about how does this tie into? So I have a question for you that you probably know more about this because you are our local epidemiologist slash nerd. Right. Yes. Okay. All that these dogs that have this atypical or whatever Cir, DC type type disease? Do we know? Is it? Is it a known thing yet? Or pseudo? No, I know that you're very data driven? So you're not going to say yes or no, unless you see it. But is the talk is the scuttlebutt that these dogs have been all in in something similar like, like, doggy daycare, or or or, or park or they have been vaccinated. Is there any sort of, has there been any work towards looking at those sorts of commonalities at all? Or are they still in a super infant stage of just getting the data of Wow, do you have an increase in knees?
Yeah, I have not yet seen data that looks at the history or exposure picture for these dogs as a whole, because that is one of the things you were talking about earlier is like, there's not like an effectively centralized right system for that, which, which I think is okay. I don't know that we need that. In this case, right. Well, we do have the commercial labs, right, because the camera and I think that the key to that is going to be analyzing that metadata that you're going to get from the larger commercial labs who run those respiratory PCRs. Right. And so the one thing that I have seen about that, that I'll bring up is, I do see people conflating two different populations of dogs and this discussion. So frequently, you'll see that there, there'll be talking about shelter dogs, and shelter dogs are not the same as pet owned dogs, insofar as their exposure, and their physiological stressors are very different. And so when we talk about disease outbreaks, there are two distinct populations, shelter dogs, because that's usually open admission. So dogs are coming super
stressed, right, those dogs, they are stressed. I mean, that's right.
And that's a stress that you can't eliminate. It's a physiological stress. And we experience it in certain situations, too. So when they're talking about that, and they say, Oh, it was really legit, though. So when they're when you see that they lapse into discussions about well, this shelter vet was in the news saying that they had identified strep zo or pneumo virus as the causative agent for this large outbreak. That's in shelter dogs, that's very different, radically different. And they will frequently in the news articles, mix those two together, talk about pet owned dogs, as well as shelter dogs. So when you see that happening, you can keep reading that article. Because I mean, I'm sure it's interesting, but it doesn't move us forward. epidemiologically for determining a causative agent for anything that might be going on in the broader canine population. Yeah, I
think we're so far from that because it just talking with you. I don't I'm not sure all the vets or all medical professionals are in 100% agreement that this is actually anything, right. But let's pretend it it is a little bit, right. Okay. And what people worry about, is my dog gonna die. Like that's the first question. Right? And that's a little off the cliff for me, but that's typically the first one. Is my dog going to get over this or is it going to die?
Yeah, well, so I will tell you I mean, of course every dog is gonna die of course from At some point easily, right? At some point, tomorrow, they're gonna die from this. Well, based on what we're seeing, this is read like your routine care stuff. So what we know, statistically is that a small percentage of dogs, like 10% of dogs who get actual CRDC are going to develop pneumonia, right? And develop pneumonia, and then a percentage of those, a smaller percentage of those, so like 20% of that 10% are going to develop severe pneumonia. Okay, and then an even smaller percentage of those are going to succumb
meaning to die. Yeah. But we're
not we're not seeing higher mortality right now than would be expected.
How would we even know that? By dodging the question,
it is? Well, we, we do know that to some degree, because here's the other thing this has been going on this if whatever it is, some people have said that this has been going on for 18 months.
Why don't we go back 18 months and think about what was happening 18 months ago? Maybe they're connected? Maybe they're not? I don't know. Yeah, I mean, that's how it is right? You had to look back and say, Oh, my gosh, that actually makes sense for my daughter, two years
ago, or whatever. Yeah. So epidemiology and here. That's the thing, epidemiology which I find fascinating. And I love epidemiology does not help you today, it does not help the dog that sick today. It helps the dog that's going to be sick in the future. So what we what we learn epidemiologically helps the dog that's going to be sick in a month. Potentially, it does, because epidemiology looks backwards, and it looks it IT projects forward. It doesn't do nothing for today. So if your dog is sick today, if your dog is coughing, if you then you should seek care, based on how that's been going on. And Dr. Stone talked a lot about how to determine when should you seek care for your dog's cough you did. And then episode which was great. That's one reason we had him on because he is a specialist and he knows about that. So if you but it doesn't mean you need to panic. Now what it also means is that hey, hey, please, please say yes, when your veterinarian wants to run diagnostics, because we don't magically know the answer. Please say yes. When they want to run diagnostics, please say yes. When they want to provide your dog with aggressive supportive care. Some fluids, if your dogs not eating, they're not drinking enough. Give him some sub q fluids, right? Give them a cough suppressant. Maybe that cost not helping anybody is the most
or most this AR a kind of the CRDC is probably a virus, right? We don't know. But we don't even know that. It's actually it's actually typically multi pathogen. Oh, multipaths CRR. And, but But yes, and the worst is when you have a virus plus the bacteria, right, we know that that produces the most severe disease. Oh, my point my point was trying to get at supportive care is super important. Fluid, yes. Rest, you know, yes. Make sure they have all of their stuff going for them so that their body can fight off whatever it is, because we're not going to have the tools to do that for them. All we can do is support the body, right? Fluid,
give the machine what it needs to correct itself. Right. Right. Yep. Yep. Now, but and that's, but that's also why the diagnostics are helpful. Also, right. And now the other thing is your veterinarian is making decisions about antibiotics and what they're going to do. So if they give if they prescribe your dog antibiotics, like if they send him some doxycycline, right? Because it's not just clavamox anymore friends because we know Michael mycoplasma, mycoplasma, which is the most often most often identified bacteria in upper respiratory infections like CRDC, and dogs. mycoplasma has the inherent ability for resistance to the penicillins. Fantastic. It's one of the other it's the same characteristic that makes it difficult to vaccinate or develop a vaccine that's effective. So they may send him doxycycline. Give the entire prescription. Don't stop it and save a few for next time.
No one does that.
Listen, people do it. People do it. Do it with their own drugs. Yes. So give the full prescription and communicate with your vet and communicate with your pet care facility to if you have something going on. So all this trending analysis helps again, it doesn't help your dog today, but it helps the dogs tomorrow. I've
got another question for you. Okay, epidemiology head on. This is what I do. So there's something known as the red car phenomenon, right? So if you think that what I mean by that is, wow, that's a red car. There's a lot of red cars, all of a sudden, you're seeing a lot of red cars, and you feel like there's an A Increasing records, whereas your brain just sort of constantly picks those out. I'm not saying that's happening, but do you think that might have be contributing, like, Tom talks to sue, who talks to Larry at all veterinarians talk to to John, who in Florida talks to his 87 veterinarians? Oh, yeah, we are seeing that and all of a sudden they start seeing the increase. You know, it's hard to be objective with that kind of stuff. There. There are some folks that have said, Oh, this is nothing more than this, and it will sort of go away. I have no idea. I'm just asking you what you think do we can we even determine that yet from the data? Or lack thereof? is a possibility, right? It's definitely a possibility, don't you think?
I do think that, right. I thought the red car phenomenon had to do with getting stopped for speeding tickets, like people thought cars were more often stopped.
Okay, great. Actually, that's a good one color. How about Blue? But you get my point. Right. So no, it is
red car. Yeah. So yeah, break. But I think but I think the perceptions are important, because our perceptions are what stimulate the question, which is what drives us to gather the data to determine is it just our brains playing tricks on us? Or is it real? And in this case, I do think I do think we're seeing a rise in in upper respiratory infections in dogs. But I don't think we're seeing I know, we're not seeing a rise in the severity of disease. We're not seeing more dogs dying from it than we would expect. We're not we're not. That's a good point to me. Yeah. So we're, I think we're but I do think we're seeing a rise. But I think that's related more to human behavior that's happening. And I think it is related also to more people understanding the value of those diagnostics and saying yes, to their veterinarian testing for it. So I think we're seeing a lot of those things, that that overall will increase the, the total number of cases that we're seeing, but we're not seeing an increase in the severity of disease. Yeah,
that's an important thing to keep in mind. So yeah, when I say an increase, not an increase in mortality, that there is an increase in, but it can also be, you know, it's hard with with with pets, and humans, because they're not always brought in and not all humans go to the doctor and even less maybe, of sick pets. We notice them being sick. Yeah, yeah. But maybe as a as a group, humans are more more more apt to recognize respiratory stuff, I'm telling you this. Yeah, this pandemic, you know, change a lot of the way we think and so and so maybe Oh, my gosh, I'm really worried about my dog. And so maybe that doesn't maybe they're not really an increase, but a monitor increase of actual pet owners taking their their, their, their folks to the, to the vet, to to be sort of diagnose, and then the tick mark is written down there. Oh, there's another one. There's another one. There's another one, when in actuality, it's the same numbers. It's always been it's just, we happen to see more.
Right, that's exactly it. Well, that's the other thing is, are we seeing it more? Because we're looking for it more? Yeah. So so there's a lot of that.
And my point is, is more to look at, because we're bringing it in, right. And
to me, none of that actually matters too much. Right now. It's just the severity, like, like, are we seeing an increase in the number of dogs who are developing severe disease, and that an increase, a concomitant increase in the number of dogs that are dying from it than we would normally expect? And the answer to that is No, not right now. Right? We're not seeing that not yet. And I always say that because it could change, we're not seeing that. So I guess to kind of wind all of this up and put a button on it, I would say, it does not appear to me that we have a mysterious or novel pathogen, yet. I have not seen data that tells me that doesn't mean it's not there. I have yet to see any data that indicates that's going on. So do your normal things. It is just as safe to board or take your dog to a dog daycare, as it was today as it was a year ago. A year ago. Did you hesitate? Now, this is a good reminder to get your dog's vaccines up to date. Ask about the intranasal vaccine, for your dog for to protect against respiratory disease. And, you know, just overall, recognize how important your dog is in your life
because you're worried about it. You didn't ask me if I thought this was a thing. You just do you do you think it's a thing? I think my dogs haven't had it. That's all I know why dogs are healthy. What was that? What was that little phrase? You said? What's in it for me? My dogs are fine. Right?
Right said said every dog owner ever right?
That's all that matters. I don't care if it's 00 1% That dog die only matters if it's mine. It doesn't only matter, but it matters most to me if it's my dog, so
it's true. Okay, so we're gonna wind all this up and say, Is this anything? Not yet? Not right now?
I wouldn't really not. Yeah, not enough data to determine what actually I would say there's not enough really gathered information to determine one way or another. And those binaries that have seen a big increase are gonna scream and holler and those that haven't are going to agree. And that's just the way the way it is because it's very local.
And that's the way it is. Okay, so listen. So this is a new series we're gonna roll with this year. Is this anything? If you want to know something is anything? Drop us a line? We'll investigate it, we'll chat about it. We might even bring an expert in to talk about it. So is this anything? Let us know if you have something you want us to talk about? Other than that, this is not anything. And thank you for tuning in. I'm
Dr. Jenn the vet and I'm Dr. Jason. I will catch you
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