A mysterious canine respiratory illness has been infecting thousands of dogs in at least 14 states in the US (Colorado, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington) causing a cough, runny eyes, and sneezing, and has even led to death in some rare cases! What is the cause of this mysterious disease? It may be bacterial or viral. However, it does not respond well (if at all) to traditional treatments, like antibiotics. According to Dr. Scott Weese of Ontario Veterinary College, this mysterious illness is caused by a microbial pathogen we’ve never seen before. (1) Weese argues that it is also possible that this respiratory illness could be a combination of pathogens concurrently- Bordetella (kennel cough), mycoplasma pneumonia, and canine influenza. (2)

This novel, mysterious pathogen is likely to have evolved from an unknown component of the canine microbiome. Researchers cannot confirm whether the pathogen is bacterial, viral, or fungal using traditional culturing or PCR methods. It is smaller than a typical bacterium in both cell size and genome size. Dr. David Needle of The University of New Hampshire conducted early metagenomic work that initially did not reveal any virus, bacteria, or fungi of concern. (3, 4) But, upon further investigation into their data, they did identify an abnormal portion of the genome of one non-culturable, bacterial-like organism, similar to Mycoplasma in a subset of the respiratory samples. (5) Their research group suggests this unknown Mycoplasma could be contributing to the disease. In addition, The San Diego Human Society has identified dogs with a presumed similar presentation of this mysterious respiratory illness as Streptococcus Equi zooepidemicus to play a possible role.

It is impossible to identify the specific strain that could contribute to this mysterious illness using traditional methods for testing, like culture methods. Fortunately, MiDOG can help! The MiDOG All-in-One Test diagnoses bacterial and fungal infections, even respiratory samples.

This test could help to identify what is causing the canine respiratory disease if it is of bacterial or fungal origin!

Utilizing Next-Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS) Technology in Veterinary Medicine to detect, identify, and diagnose any animal's infectious diseases/infection.


  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/12/01/1216209026/dog-respiratory-illness-mystery-cause-symptoms-research

  2. https://vcahospitals.com/press-center/vca-news/canine-respiratory-illness

  3. https://colsa.unh.edu/new-hampshire-veterinary-diagnostic-laboratory/canine-respiratory-outbreak

  4. https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2023/11/unh-researchers-provide-major-clue-mysterious-dog-illness-case

  5. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/mysterious-dog-illness-pet-research-vet-treatment-rcna127505

Categories: Respiratory Infection

Validated by Veterinarians

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Martha Smith-Blackmore, DVM, President of Forensic Veterinary Investigations, LLC – Boston, MA

The MiDOG All-in-One Microbial Test is our new gold standard of pathogen identification. The results are so accurate and valuable – especially with assessing both bacterial and fungal infections with the same sample.

Thank you MiDOG!”

Kathy Wentworth, DVM, Diplomate ABVP Canine and Feline Practice – PetPoint Medical Center, Irvine, CA

“The MiDOG staff was extremely helpful and supportive.”

Cathy Curtis, DVM – London, UK

“I have had great results using the MiDOG® Test. Compared to traditional culture tests, I am better able to target the treatment for dogs because the MiDOG® Test is so sensitive that it identifies all pathogens including bacteria and fungi, as well as antibiotic sensitivity.

The cost and turnaround time are about the same as a culture test, but I get much more data. The test has great performance and I believe the NGS technology will be a game changer for veterinarians treating dogs with lesions or other infections.”

Michael Kavanagh, DVM, Practice owner – Saddleback Animal Hospital, Tustin, CA