SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV)-Veterinarians across the country are warning of a potentially deadly mystery illness that is very contagious among dogs.

Our pets get sick just like we do this time of year, but recently veterinarians are finding dogs with a cough that they just can’t get to go away.

“We’re watching it very closely,” said Dr. Carla Case-McCorvey, the owner of Case Veterinary Hospital. “We’re trying to see does this emerges, is this actually a pathogen that we already know about that used to not cause disease and now it seems to be, or is this something brand new.”

The illness affects their respiratory systems, which is common for the season. The concern is that this illness isn’t behaving or responding to treatments in the same way.

“The best way to protect your pet this holiday season is to talk to your veterinarian,” said Dr. Case-McCorvey. “Your veterinarian knows their lifestyle, what they’re going to be exposed to. Have them vaccinated against those diseases that we have vaccinations for so that we can protect them from when we travel.”

At its worst – this illness can cause death or pneumonia. Dr. Case-McCorvey tells News 3, she hasn’t seen any cases yet in our area but recommends that dog owners stay vigilant.

“Whether it’s a mystery or not we’re not sure yet,” said Dr. Case-McCorvey. “We might find that it’s something really common that we just need to tweak the treatment for, but until that time I would pay a little more attention to your pet and how they’re breathing, whether they’re coughing.”

She says to pay close attention to dogs that are older or already have health problems, and if your dog starts panting while they’re resting you should get them checked out.