Streator veterinarian says respiratory illness seen in area, urges dog owners to take precautions

Pet owners should keep their dogs home from daycare, visits with other dogs if symptoms shown

Victor Simek, 7, from DeKalb, pets a couple dogs at the Tails Humane Society booth during the Family Fun Fest Thursday, July 20, 2023, at Hopkins Park in DeKalb.

A Streator veterinary clinic believes it is starting to see dog patients showing symptoms of an unidentified canine respiratory illness.

The unidentified respiratory illness has garnered national attention because it is believed to have spread to several regions of the country, said veterinarian Abbie Eiten of Streator’s Countryside Animal Clinic.

As of now, there is no definitive treatment or prevention, but pet parents should take precautions, similar to how humans would during flu or cold season, Eiten said.

If your dogs are not current on vaccinations, contact your veterinarian to get them up to date to avoid concurrent illnesses that can be prevented.

Dogs at risk include any that have contact with dogs outside of their housemates. Dogs that go to grooming, boarding, day care, dog parks, dog shows and training facilities are at a greater risk.

“We have reached out to the groomers, boarding, day care facilities and trainers in our area,” Eiten said. “They are aware of the situation and are taking precautions to screen all dogs coming into their facilities as well as sanitize between dogs. That being said, if your dog is feeling ill or you have any concerns, please postpone their appointments and contact your veterinarian.”

A number of dog care facilities in the region have shared open dialogue about the precautions they are taking to keep dogs healthy.

“We will continue to screen and watch dogs in our care very closely, and if we notice anything at all with your dog, we will ask owners to pick up their dog immediately,” said Four Leaf K-9 in rural Streator in a Facebook post. “We suggest for owners to take safety measures along with us during this time and keep your dogs home if they are sick or showing symptoms.”

Possible signs of “atypical CIRDC” are a cough, sneezing, discharge from the eyes and/or nose, fever, decreased appetite and lethargy.

At this time, the illness is believed to be a virus, but bacterial causes have not been completely ruled out, Eiten said.

“Unfortunately with viruses, they usually have to run their course, and we rely on the immune system and supportive care,” Eiten said. “Some severe cases have been reported and can potentially be life-threatening. The dogs that have developed severe illness are affected by pneumonia secondary to the initial illness. These dogs may require aggressive therapy, including oxygen and ventilation.”

Pups in Pawradise in Ottawa announced that it was closing until more information was released about the respiratory illness.

Some dog parks, such as the Starved Rock Dog Park in Oglesby, closed because of the potential spread of the illness.

The city of Oglesby said it wasn’t aware of any cases of the illness, but it closed the park as a precaution.

Play and Stay Dog Lounge in Ottawa said it is taking every precaution to limit exposure risk and keep dogs well, emphasizing that boarding clients should keep their dog home if they are showing any symptoms.

“We ask all boarding clients to have a backup plan if their dog develops symptoms,” Play and Stay Dog Lounge said in a Facebook post. “In this event, they will be separated into our designated isolation area. After being notified, these dogs must be picked up within 24 hours.

“We will also be keeping our play count to 15 dogs per day. We also added additional cleaning steps throughout the day. Though we cannot prevent the illness, we will continue taking every precaution to limit risk.”

Anyone with questions about the respiratory illness should contact their veterinarian.