HELENA, Mont. — The Department of Livestock and local veterinarians are monitoring an outbreak of severe canine respiratory disease in Montana.

Veterinarians in Bozeman, Livingston, Billings, Butte, Big Timber, Roundup and Red Lodge have reported seeing dogs with coughing, difficulty breathing and fever. Assistant State Veterinarian Tahnee Szymanski said Friday the symptoms are similar to kennel cough, but the vaccine for kennel cough is not protecting the dogs.

Dogs with more critical infections have developed pneumonia. A small number have died. Young animals seem particularly sensitive.

Canine influenza is suspected, but more testing is needed to confirm that.

In the meantime, the Department of Livestock recommends pet owners limit their dog’s contact with other pets in the community.