Florida woman believes shih tzu died from mystery dog disease sweeping the states, has warning for pet owners

A heartbroken Florida pet owner believes her beloved shih tzu, Chowder, died of a mysterious dog disease that is sweeping across America.

Trang Huyen posted on TikTok a video of her sweet pooch, asking viewers to share the clip to “help other dog owners.”

As BizPac Review reported earlier this month, more than 200 cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly respiratory illness have been documented by the Oregon Department of Agriculture since mid-August.

Cases of the condition have surfaced in Oregon, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada, and throughout the Northeast.

According to Huyen, Chowder loved staying at home and didn’t “go anywhere,” including to the groomer or visits to the dog park.

She said she is “unsure” of how her furbaby caught the illness, but suspects it was “most likely [in] the front yard where many neighborhood dogs pass by.”

Chowder, who was 10, “had a full heart exam prior to his passing,” Huyen said. “His heart was very healthy with no murmurs.”

She first noticed that Chowder had a “minor dry cough” and was lethargic. His breathing had slowed and he was retching, as though he wanted to vomit.

Heavy panting and a wet cough followed. Chowder’s lungs were “expanding at a rapid rate” and he had “trouble expelling mucus.” His tongue took on a “purple or blue” tint.

@trangnthings Chowder wants you to share this video to help other dog owners and to leave an encouraging message for his human. #mysterydogillness #dogillness #pneumonia #dogpneumonia #mysteryillness #dog #dogsoftiktok #fyo ♬ Glimpse of Us – Joji

Little Chowder crossed the Rainbow Bridge just a few days later, according to DailyMail.com.

“I miss my best friend,” Huyen said in her TikTok video.

The grieving pet owner warned others to “avoid dog parks or high traffic areas with dogs” and to separate any sick dogs from the healthy ones. She urged pet owners to remove their shoes before entering the house and to sanitize their floors to try and prevent the spread of the disease.

Lee Asher founded The Asher House, which finds “furever” homes for dogs in need of a family. The organization’s Facebook page boasts 5.6 million followers.

On Wednesday, he took to the platform to confirm that the disease had hit the Asher sanctuary, which serves as a temporary home for nearly 100 dogs.

Though he’s not a veterinarian, he wanted to share “what we went through.”

“Yes, our sanctuary was hit with it,” he said. “We had about 80 dogs during the time of this illness. Eighty dogs, but only 20 of them got sick from it.”

Of the 20, one dog named Roo died. Another dog, Lady, “had to get 20% of her lung removed.”

Roo died just two days after she came down with the “kennel cough” and Asher noticed her breathing had become “really bad.”

“My point to this is, as soon as your dog gets sick, take them to the vet,” he urged pet owners.

“The second you are noticing that your dog — even if it’s just a cough — in this situation, I cannot tell you how important it is to be better safe than sorry,” Asher said. “Don’t wait a couple of days.”

Dr. Adam Christman is a veterinarian with more than a million TikTok followers.

According to him, the symptoms of the disease are very similar to kennel cough and canine influenza. He warns that the “horrific cough” can “turn into pneumonia.”

“Unfortunately, some dogs did pass away or had to be euthanized due to [the] severity of their illness,” he said.

Christman cited reports stating that the illness is likely not caused by a virus, but by “non-culturable bacterium” that has been “minimally studied” and is “not well characterized.”

@dr.adamchristman52 What You Need to Know About the Mysterious Canine Respiratory Disease 11.22.23. #doghealth #veterinarian #vetmed #caninerespitoryvirus #dogparents #dogsoftiktok #doglover ♬ Love – Revember

On the upside, it appears unlikely that humans can catch the illness from their dogs, though it can’t be completely discounted. A vaccine, he said, would take years to come out.

As there are no tests for this illness, Dr. Christman suggests pet owners “control the controllable.”

Ensure that your dogs are vaccinated against Bordetella (kennel cough) and canine influenza, especially if you take your pets to doggy daycare, boarding facilities, or the groomer. If at all possible, refrain from taking them to those places, and if you notice any symptoms, “definitely take them to the veterinarian right away to get evaluated.”

Melissa Fine


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