BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Montana Department of Livestock is now looking into the canine respiratory disease outbreak in cities across southwest Montana. The disease has been found in Bozeman, Butte, Livingston and in towns as far away as Billings and Red Lodge.
Foothills Veterinary Hospital says they are seeing many dogs with coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and fever.
Owner Kathy Quigley tells us there are two vaccines that can help fight the illness. However, she says they are not 100 percent guaranteed to work.
Right now veterinarians are working with the state to pin down the cause of the illness. The state veterinarian suspects the illness is canine influenza but has not been able to confirm that. More tests will need to be run.
"Yes, it's a serious problem. Yes, we have a serious problem here in the area. We do need to keep our dogs away from other dogs until we figure out what this is. It may or may not be something that is serious, but we just don't know that answer yet," Quigley said.
Quigley said the illness can be treated with antibiotics. Preventive vaccinations are available but Quigley says they are not guaranteed to work.
Until the outbreak has run its course it is recommended that owners limit their dogs contact with other pets. Dogs who are not showing symptoms can still spread the disease.
Veterinarians also ask that pets are kept away from places like dog parks, kennels and even groomers. If you take your dogs to public places it is advised that they not drink from water bowls because the virus can live on objects.