Last week, Dr. Scott Weese came up to our community to investigate an outbreak of canine influenza at a local boarding and daycare facility. The canine influenza virus affects the respiratory system of dogs, and can look just like other infectious agents that cause ‘Kennel Cough’ syndromes. For the most part, coughing is the main sign, though many dogs will also be sick with a fever and off food in the early stages. Sneezing, and nasal and eye discharge may also be present.
Most dogs with influenza recover on their own. The fever is transient, and many are eating well within 24-36 hours. The cough tends to last a bit longer. Most dogs fully recover within 2 -3 weeks. You should keep your pet away from other dogs for a full 4 weeks after exposure. Complications are uncommon, with secondary bacterial pneumonia being the main concern, which is why antibiotics may be prescribed on an individual case basis. Diagnosis is done by a special lab PCR test for viral presence on nasal swabs.
If you are concerned that your pet may have influenza, call the clinic and let us know. When we make the appointment, we will need a heads up to put measures in place to minimize risk of exposing other patients when your dog comes in.
Vaccination for canine influenza is available. It is not a guarantee , but it can lessen the likelihood and severity of the disease. Dr. Weese is recommending vaccinations for high risk patients, such as:
- Dogs that are at increased risk of more severe disease if they get infected – elderly dogs, brachycephalics, concurrent heart or respiratory disease, or immunosuppressive disorders
- Dogs that attend boarding kennels , classes, daycares, or competitions
Call us to get more information about vaccinating your pet.
Some basic guidelines for now:
- Keep your pet away from socializing with unfamiliar dogs.
- If you contact any sick dog, wash your hands and (ideally) change your clothes prior to handling your pet
- Stay away from the common trails for now.
- If your pet has been ill or exposed, wait at least 4 weeks before allowing contact with other dogs.
This really is breaking news, and we will update you further when more information becomes available.
For more specific information on canine influenza, here is a link to Dr. Weese’s excellent blog: Worms and Germs Blog