MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade County Animal Services has issued a warning for dog owners about taking your pet out in public, as a highly contagious virus is spreading throughout South Florida, and it could put your dog in danger.

When the sun is out in South Florida so are the dogs​.

But now, Miami-Dade County Animal Services is warning pet owners to be cautious of a disease that can be dangerous to dogs.​

“Basically, I’m trying just to be careful,” said dog owner Susanna Fernandez. “Not letting them drink from the fountain.”

It’s called CIRDC or canine infectious respiratory disease complex.

“A disease that is caused by multiple viruses and bacteria that pretty much infect the respiratory tract of dogs and can cause pretty severe infection including pneumonia,” said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Chief Veterinarian Dr. Maria Serrano.

Animal services said they’ve seen a recent spike in cases and are suspending some of their services for now.

“Wellness services such as vaccinations, micro-chipping and spay and neuter. We are suspending intake of owner surrenders into our population, and we are suspending events that require our dogs to go into the community,” said Serrano.

The increase in cases also forced Pup Glow 2022, a charity event in Miami Beach, to be postponed.

“You should be monitoring your dogs for any respiratory signs so coughing, sneezing,” said Serrano.

Though most cases are mild, the virus is highly contagious, especially from close contact with other dogs.

Officials said some ways to help prevent it from spreading is by:

  • Visiting your veterinarian
  • Keeping your dogs current on routine vaccines
  • Avoiding dog parks and other settings with multiple dogs

“They are my sons,” said Monica Diaz.

Diaz said her dogs are family. The last few weeks they have been sick, and she now wonders if it may have been CIRDC.

She said, “These two weeks have been hard for them. I don’t know why.” ​

Fernandez said, thankfully, the news is spreading fast among her neighbors.

“It would be even better if we had a message board or something at the park,” she said.

Some dog owners who spoke to 7News said they hadn’t heard about this virus and want to do more research on it.

“I’ve always been careful when it comes to the health of my dog,” said Rollin Smith.

Others said they’re not too concerned.

“Especially because it’s tough. They don’t know. They are going to be wondering why you’re keeping them from other dogs and all that stuff,” said Nick Kaknes.

CIRDC symptoms last seven to 10 days. If symptoms last longer or become more severe contact your veterinarian immediately.

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