Canine Influenza has been on the news, and you have questions. Here are answers…
What is it?
Canine Influenza is a flu virus that can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. Some cases may even progress to pneumonia or patient death. Infected dogs generally appear to be much sicker than those exhibiting symptoms of kennel cough.
Over the last 11 years, Canine Influenza has cropped up in small pockets throughout the United States in locations such as Florida, Virginia and Colorado with little to no evidence of its existence in Alamance County.
There is an effective vaccine that can be administered- yet given the lack of cases in Alamance County- we only recommended it for traveling dogs, during outbreaks.
What has changed?
First- There is a current outbreak in the Midwestern United States, with over 1,000 confirmed cases in the city of Chicago alone.
Second- This outbreak is the result of a new strain, H3N2. All indications are it was introduced from Asia.
Third- We are not sure if the vaccine currently available for Canine Flu (strain H3N8) will protect our dogs, but tests are now underway.
Fourth- Some cats have been infected with this virus via infected dogs.
What can I do to protect my dog?
1. Dog owners should keep their pet’s Distemper/ Parvo vaccination current. The Adenovirus and Parainfluenza protection provided in the vaccine is beneficial in ruling out both the Distemper and Parvo virus as a cause of illness, and reduces the possibility of a disastrous cross infection.
2. We recommend all dogs have an up to date Bordetella vaccine. Having strong Bordetella antibodies improves the outcome for all respiratory infections, not just Kennel Cough.
3. There are very limited doses of the Canine Influenza vaccine available throughout the United States. At this time, we feel vaccinating for the prevention of Canine Influenza wouldn’t be beneficial to our patients, due to the continued lack of prevalence within Alamance County.
4. We will alert you by email if we receive confirmed cases in Alamance County!
What can I do if there is an outbreak in our area?
1. Be watchful for any signs of illness your dog shows and alert us with any questions or concerns you have.
2. Be aware that you can personally spread Canine Influenza. Wash your hands and don’t interact with sick dogs. (People cannot catch this flu, but could possibly infect their dog).
3. We have isolation areas and separate exam rooms set up at Town ‘N’ Country Animal Hospital available for use during any infectious outbreak.
Please alert us if you are bringing in a pet with any respiratory symptoms.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, give us a call.