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What you need to know about Canine Influenza - DOG FLU.

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Posted on 10-06-2017

All it takes is one interaction for your pet to contract Dog Flu.

A simple vaccination can keep your dog safe and help reduce the spread of the virus.

We have been receiving questions about the newest virus striking our canine companions, Canine Influenza, better known as "Dog Flu".  It is a relatively new virus, like Human Flu it is easily spread and highly contagious. There are confirmed cases in Arizona and the only way to minimize the spread of this virus is PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION!!!!  

 As an AAHA Accredited Hospital, it is our responsibility to provide the highest standard of care to our patients and continued education for our clients.   Providing the most current information and effective vaccines for protection.  Here is what you need to know about "Dog Flu"  ‚Äč

Dog Flu and You

Dog Flu is a highly contagious virus.  All it takes is one interaction with an infected dog, or infected surface, for your pet to contract Dog Flu.  It is a relatively new disease which can be caused by two different canine influenza viruses.  The two different strains of canine influenza have been isolated in the US.   Canine influenza virus H3N8 was first reported in 2003, and canine influenza virus H3N2 emerged in March 2015.  These strains are not related.    The new strain likely has a longer contagious period, up to 24 days, making it more of a concern.

The virus spreads rapidly, especially at boarding facilities, groomers, doggy daycares, dog parks and other spots where dogs co-mingle.  Dog Flu can be spread by direct contact with respiratory discharge from infected dogs, through the air via a cough or sneeze, and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls and clothing, or by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs.

It is important to note that dogs that do not show clinical signs can still pass the infection to other dogs. The mortality rate of canine influenza has been reported to range from 1% to 8% in puppies and older dogs.2 Serology can be performed to confirm a diagnosis of CIV infection; however, samples must be sent out, so this diagnostic test does not help acute management.8

There is no treatment specifically for Dog Flu; treatment consists of supportive therapy. Intravenous fluids may be helpful. Antibiotics may be indicated in the case of secondary bacterial infection, with selection guided by culture and sensitivity testing.2,6

The pattern of a sudden increase in the prevalence of acute respiratory disease, the severity of illness, or a lack of response to antibiotic therapy is one of the first warning signs of a CIV outbreak. It is important to recognize this pattern so that appropriate isolation and other precautions can be taken to minimize the spread of this highly contagious virus. In addition, a veterinarian should be consulted to ensure that appropriate treatment is implemented.

As with any infectious disease outbreak, management of canine influenza requires breaking the cycle of transmission among dogs that are infected and those that are exposed through:

  • Early recognition, treatment, and isolation of infected or potentially infected dogs
  • Environmental control procedures
  • Education of veterinary professionals, kennel owners, shelter managers, and dog owners
  • Vaccination

Dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus.  Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease. 

Contact our office if your dog has the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy/lack of energy

Treatment consists mainly of supportive care, such as fluids and medication to help a dog be more comfortable. With severe illness, hospitalization is necessary.

The Best Treatment Approach to Dog Flu is Effective Prevention

Call the office to schedule your appointment 

All information obtained on:    Canine Influenza Dogflu.com

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