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Respiratory Update (12/2023)

December 2023

Dear Guiding Eyes Community,

I hope that you and your dogs are all warm and healthy as we enter the holiday season. I am sure many of you have seen the recent media coverage surrounding canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC). At Guiding Eyes, we are aware of this concern, and are closely following the details as they become available. Because information is still emerging surrounding this mystery respiratory illness, I wanted to provide you two options for reputable resources to stay informed on an ongoing basis:

Cornell University’s page on Respiratory Outbreaks with ongoing coverage:

Canine respiratory disease outbreaks | Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (opens in new tab)

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Home | American Veterinary Medical Association ( (opens in new tab)

Below are quick summary points for an overview of CIRDC:

This most recent outbreak of CIRDC is not a cause for immediate alarm. Most dogs with CIRDC will have a mild to moderate illness usually lasting 7-10 days. Clinical signs include any combination of nasal discharge, sneezing, a honking cough and eye discharge. A small percentage of dogs will develop more serious illness.

Causes for heightened concern may include signs such as a cough that does not largely resolve in the expected period of under two weeks, extreme lethargy, fever and/or loss of interest in food. Difficulty breathing or suspected pneumonia should be evaluated by a veterinarian urgently or emergently.

Preventative measures include keeping vaccines up to date, avoiding interactions with dogs of unknown vaccine status especially in areas of known outbreaks and not interacting with sick dogs. Unfortunately, dogs may transmit a respiratory illness when they are not yet showing symptoms.

At both Guiding Eyes campuses dogs have been experiencing some respiratory illness, but as of today the course is typical of the seasonal outbreaks we have experienced. We are sending PCR samples to laboratories to monitor for causative agents and treating any affected dogs promptly. We will continue to stay informed of new developments and do all we can to prevent illness and put dog health at the forefront. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns and thank you for your help and support!

Happy Holidays,

Dr B

Beth Brenninkmeyer DVM
Chief Veterinary Officer
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
611 Granite Springs Road
Yorktown Heights, New York 10598