Contagious respiratory disease for dogs spreading in South Florida: Miami-Dade Animal Services

Dog owners in South Florida are on high alert after county officials signaled the alarms over a highly contagious virus spreading among pups.

According to Miami-Dade County Animal Services, the virus – called CIRDC or canine infectious respiratory disease complex – can impact a dog's respiratory tract and can lead to pneumonia. The Veterinary Medical Center at Ohio State University reports that CIRDC is "very common." However, outbreaks can easily spread from dog to dog. It is also referred to as the "kennel cough" or "canine cough."

"At least nine different bacteria and viruses have been linked as causes of CIRDC," according to OSU. "Disease may be diagnosed after multiple dogs have a sudden onset of these signs shortly after being together in a common area."

PDF: Learn more about CIRDC from Ohio State University

While most cases in South Florida have been mild, pet owners are urged to avoid dog parks and public settings with other dogs. Plus, officials said owners should keep their animals current on routine vaccines. It's unclear where the outbreak originated.

After seeing a spike in cases, Miami-Dade County Animal Services said they are suspending some of their own services, reports WSVN

"Wellness services such as vaccinations, micro-chipping and spay neuter. We are suspending intake of owner surrenders into our population, and we are suspending events that require our dogs to go into community," said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Chief Veterinarian Dr. Maria Serrano. "You should be monitoring your dogs for any respiratory signs so coughing, sneezing."

The rise in CIRDC cases also forced the postponement of Pup Glow 2022, a charity event in Miami Beach. Symptoms could last 7 to 10 days. If the last longer or become severe, officials say owners should contact their veterinarian immediately.

The reporting in this story comes from WSVN