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Scientists in the US Identify a Pathogen Responsible for Killing Several Dogs

Several dogs in the US have died from a mysterious respiratory illness. According to researchers at Medriva, a new type of bacterial infection, which is good at evading the immune system, may have killed or sickened several dogs across the nation. The affected dogs have shown symptoms like sneezing, runny eyes, and coughing that could last for several weeks before dying.

Researchers achieve a breakthrough

According to the latest available information, the researchers at the Veterinary Diagnosis Laboratory of New Hampshire University identified a pathogen that may be responsible for the sickness of dogs. The latest development could shed light on a mysterious illness that has affected several dog breeds.

Detects an unknown germ

The new study is based on a collection of samples from 30 infected dogs last year from New Hampshire and the remaining 40, which are infected this year, from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The researchers say they have unearthed a germ that was previously unknown.

A section chief (pathology), CLSA (College of Life Sciences and Agriculture) at the University of New Hampshire, Dr. David Needle, said it is a funky bacterium. It is very small in size compared to normal bacteria. David further stated that it is very strange, unusual, and very difficult to find and sequence.

David went on to say that it has the potential to cause disease and is unlikely to have developed from the microbiome of a dog. According to experts at Medriva, both humans and dogs have several microorganisms and harmless bacteria living outside and inside the body. Those present in the gut help digestion in both. The team at New Hampshire University has identified the new pathogen after a painstaking search.

Needle said the team could not identify a known fungal, bacterial, or viral pathogen after the initial sequencing. It was a time-consuming process. Lawrence Gordon, a graduate student, demonstrated that 21 samples from a batch of 30 from the University of New Hampshire comprised some genetic material belonging to one atypical bacterial species.

Veterinarians could get some information with details of new findings shared by the team at the University of New Hampshire as they deal with other types of respiratory syndrome outbreaks. However, scientists have not yet concluded that the same virus is making dogs sick in the US. According to the latest information, researchers are still wondering whether it is a bacterial or viral pathogen. The veterinarians have so far not recognized this germ.

According to an email communication from the spokesperson for USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), Mike Stepien, the healthcare agency for pets, is working with various diagnostic labs and animal health officials across the states concerning this mysterious respiratory illness, which in rare cases progresses rapidly to death.

In an email, Stephen mentioned that APHIS and its partners are so far unable to know the actual cause of the illness in dogs. Veterinarians across Oregon have reported over 200 case reports to the Oregon Agricultural Department since the beginning of August. Cantu-Schomus, a spokesperson for the Oregon Agricultural Department, said only a small number of dogs have died from this mysterious disease.

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