Pet parents warned of an increase in respiratory infections among dogs
The illness has raised questions about the existence of a new pathogen.
Dogs might develop a fever, a persistent cough and appear lethargic - as some of the symptoms in what's being labeled as atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex.
"Whatever is causing this current strain isn't really showing up in our standard testing so they're sort of not sure what it is and it's definitely put folks onto alert," said Sarah Aguilar, the director of animal services for Santa Barbara Public Health Department.
She says the infection could be mild or severe and life threatening and urged owners to be vigilant.
"The biggest tip of prevention is similar to when people are sick. Stay home. Don't take your dog out to a dog park or out to walk through Petco or PetSmart if they're sick," she said.
Pet owners are urged to contact their vet if they are concerned.