This time of year is all about appreciating your loved ones and counting your blessings. If you have pets, there's a good chance that they'll have a seat at (or near) the table this year.

We've already talked about keeping your pets safe from foods that could be potentially dangerous but now there's another reason to keep a close eye on your pet this holiday season.

A fatal illness is attacking our pets

According to TODAY, veterinarians from several states include Washington, California, and even Idaho are reporting cases of dogs catching "potentially fatal respiratory illness."

In what sounds more like symptoms of the flu in humans, vets are saying that dogs are experiencing a cough "that won't go away" before developing pneumonia.

Other symptoms of this mysterious illness according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture include: "coughing, sneezing, eye or nose discharge, are abnormally tired, and do not test positive for any of the common causes of respiratory illness."

Read More: Avoid Making Your Dogs Sick With These Foods At Thanksgiving

If you notice your dog experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away and notify them of the symptoms as well as this mysterious respiratory illness.

What's causing our dogs to get sick?

While there is no definitive origin or cause for this mysterious illness plaguing our pets, experts believe that it could be related to dogs coming into contact with other dogs.

That in no way means that we need our pets to start "social distancing" but you do want to keep your pet away from large gatherings of other dogs just in case... or at least until this mysterious illness fades.

One veterinarian told TODAY that dogs with a contagious cough are pretty common but reported cases normally drop off as temperatures drop. This vet, though, is quoted as saying "...this year, the spike has stayed high."

There's no telling what's causing this mysterious illness but let this be a reminder to all of us to keep a closer eye on our dogs this holiday season and do what we can to keep them safe.

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