20 dogs in the area impacted by disease spreading throughout Virginia

ROANOKE,Va. –  A mysterious disease is spreading among dogs in Virginia. 

Dr.Maureen Noftsinger, CEO and veterinarian for Emergency Veterinary Services of Roanoke, explains it's a respiratory illness that is similar to whooping cough.

“I would consider it an epidemic, based on the number of cases we are seeing and how rapidly it was going through our animals,” said Noftsinger.  

This summer alone, 20 dogs came to Emergency Veterinary Services of Roanoke showing symptoms similar to a cough, but it turned out to be something more alarming. 

“With cooperation with one of the other veterinarians in the area, we were able to finally isolate a mycoplasma bacteria and it did require treatment for some animals and some animals did not require treatment,” Noftsinger said.

Noftsinger stressed that the mycoplasma bacteria must be monitored closely, because there is currently not a vaccine and it can be transmitted quickly. It can be spread in places such as a veterinarians' offices, dog parks and other common areas. 

“In this case, we didn't see any that we were concerned about life status or progressing into pneumonia, but anytime you have a respiratory diseases like this, it can progress in some animals,” Noftsinger said..

That is why Tammy Kinney, dog mom to 14-year old Jinxy, said she keeps a close eye out to avoid epidemics like this. 

“I don't ever feel comfortable bringing her to pet stores with other animals. For one thing, I just don't know if the other animals have had their shots and I just avoid those places,” said Kinney.

Noftsinger told Ten News some other symptoms with the disease include becoming lethargic and loss of appetite.

Also, if your dog is showing any signs of distress or coughing, take them to your local veterinarian immediately.