Virginia woman thinks family dog may have died from mystery illness: 'He had to be put down'

Neighbors: 'It progressed so rapidly, and antibiotics were not touching it at all'
Brodie, a 2-year-old Yorkie.
Posted at 9:13 PM, Nov 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-24 10:04:35-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A mysterious respiratory illness impacting dogs across the nation has not made its way officially to Virginia just yet. But a Virginia woman thinks her family's dog may have died from it.

Mitzi Neighbors said a little over a week ago, her family was traveling out of town and decided to board her mother's two-year-old Yorkie, Brodie, at Aspen Grove in Roanoke for four days.

"This is a really nice boarding place," Neighbors said. "You know, they have people there 24/7, they cuddle with the dogs. I mean, really nice."

When Brodie came home, Neighbors said Brodie had a slight cough.

"He was coughing a little but nothing unusual. It was a cough here, a cough there. That was it," she said. "By Monday, he was declining fast."

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Neighbors said the family quickly took Brodie to a nearby veterinarian, who said he may have a strong case of pneumonia caused by kennel cough, which Brodie was vaccinated against.

Brodie was treated with antibiotics, yet he still couldn't shake the sickness.

The family then opted to take him to an emergency veterinary clinic.

"They said his lungs were so full, that all he had was one little pocket up in the top of one of his lungs left that was not full. So, they put him in an oxygen chamber and tried to assist his breathing," Neighbors said. "And the next morning called and said that they'd done everything they could and there was nothing left to do. So he had to be put down.”

Brodie, a 2-year-old Yorkie.
Brodie, a 2-year-old Yorkie.

Though Virginia has not been deemed a hotspot for a mysterious respiratory illness impacting dogs in other states like Colorado and Oregon, Neighbors said Brodie had the same symptoms: coughing, trouble breathing, fatigue, dealing with a rapidly worsening sickness that resists treatment.

“I mean, it progressed so rapidly, and antibiotics were not touching it at all," Neighbors explained.

Dogtopia in Chesterfield shared a message regarding the mystery illness on their Facebook page, asking pet owners to make sure their dog's vaccines are up to date and to keep them home if they show symptoms.

Neighbors is encouraging every dog owner to know the signs.

“We never heard anything about it until it happened to us," she said.

The American Veterinary Medical Association also shared a message on its Facebook page, encouraging pet owners to watch for progressive coughing that may be accompanied by eye or nasal discharge. If the signs develop, consult your veterinarian immediately.

The AVMA also encourages dog owners to avoid voluntary gatherings with other dogs, like at dog parks.

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