LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A mystery respiratory dog illness is plaguing the nation and health officials issued a warning to pet owners before it affects Southern Nevada. 

The disease is airborne, and veterinarians recommend limiting your pet’s exposure to other dogs. That includes rethinking where you play fetch, so your dog doesn’t catch the illness. 

The Nevada Department of Agriculture reports there are no cases in Nevada yet, and recommends dogs be up to date on their shots. 

“Respiratory illnesses in humans and dogs can be seen year-round, but always uptick when the weather turns cold,” explained Dr. Christopher Yach, the medical director at West Flamingo Animal Hospital. 

Dogs play at Desert Breeze Dog Park. (KLAS)

Yach said this fall saw a particularly bad increase in respiratory illnesses, and there are many questions surrounding the new threat. Experts do not know the exact organism causing the sickness, and it is unresponsive to treatment including antibiotics. The illness can progress and lead to death. 

“One pet can give it to another easily,” Yach said. He added that the symptoms vary. “They may have a fever, could be hacking, coughing, have runny eyes or a runny nose.”

The lingering cough could turn into pneumonia, but Yach said that’s treatable.

Owner Charlotte Moore told us she took her bulldog, Buzz, to the vet to bring him up to date on all his shots when she heard about the respiratory illness. (KLAS)

Charlotte Moore read the headlines and took her bulldog, Buzz, to her vet out of an abundance of caution. 

“I was very concerned about this mysterious disease killing dogs,” Moore said. Buzz is now up to date on all his shots.  “I am watching him very closely, and I am very concerned,” Moore said. 

Yach said while Nevada has been fortunate to avoid illnesses in the past, increased travel brings concern for cases. 

Dogs play at Desert Breeze Dog Park. (KLAS)

During an outbreak, he advises being aware of pet’s activity at parks and kennels. “If you have to do it, realize you are increasing your risk,” he said. 

Pet product giant Petco sent the following statement. It reads in part,  “Our animal care standards include strict sanitation and hygiene policies and procedures to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in our pet care centers. We recommend pet parents keep their pets up to date on all vaccinations and follow best practices, like regular handwashing, to prevent the spread of diseases, and contact their veterinarian immediately if their pets display symptoms of respiratory illnesses.”

 Some of the states reporting cases include California, Oregon and Colorado. ( (