Tag: contagious

Don’t let canine flu give your dog the blues!

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Just like people, dogs can be affected by different strains of influenza. There are two strains of the influenza virus known to affect dogs; H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 broke out around 2004 in Florida and H3N2 was first seen in Chicago in 2015. Since then it has been seen in almost all parts of the United States and several other countries as well.

Unfortunately, Texas has seen confirmed cases of both strains of the canine influenza virus (or CIV). This respiratory infection is relatively new. Because of this, almost all dogs are susceptible to infection when exposed because they have not built up natural immunity to it yet. Most dogs that develop an infection caused by this virus have a mild illness, but some dogs get very sick and require treatment from their veterinarian. Virtually all dogs exposed become infected with the virus, but only 80% develop clinical signs. The other approximate 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs can still shed the virus and spread the infection. Scary, right?

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So, how is it spread?

Canine Influenza can pass between dogs through virus particles in the air (coughing or sneezing) or by coming into physical contact with other dogs. It can also be transferred indirectly—say if a dog touches or plays with objects that were touched by infected dogs (food bowls or toys). Humans can even transfer the virus between dogs if they do not properly sanitize after touching an infected dog, or if their clothing isn’t properly cleaned. Incubation of the virus is typically 2-5 days from exposure to the onset of clinical signs and it can still be spread during that time.Untitled

We are doing everything we can to help keep this virus contained in our community. Education is the first step to preventing more outbreaks! Vaccines are available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. There is even a combination vaccine (or bivalent vaccine) that covers for both strains in just one vaccine. Just like when your dog was an adorable puppy, if this vaccine is new to their system they would need to get one booster done 2-4 weeks after the initial vaccination was given. After that, the vaccine is done once yearly.

You can do your part by vaccinating your dog for canine influenza. If your pet is not currently vaccinated, you should avoid places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, grooming salons, kennels and daycares. Be sure to check with your groomer and/or boarding facilities about their vaccination policies to make sure you are in compliance with them! We highly recommend that every dog be vaccinated for both strains of the canine influenza, regardless of their lifestyle.

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If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to get your dog vaccinated, please contact us at 281-282-9944 (or your regular veterinarian!). We’re happy to talk about this and help you decide what is best for your dog!

By: Shelly Crosson

 

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It’s been a bad flu season… for dogs!

By: Tara Sansing

As you have most likely already seen via the news there have been recent outbreaks of the flu in dogs across the country. At least two positive cases have been confirmed in the Houston area in the last couple of weeks.

Please be aware that this is the second strain of dog-flu-symptomsinfluenza that has been known to affect dogs. In the past, we have seen outbreaks of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) otherwise known as the H3N8 strain. The current flu virus, H3N2, emerged in Asia in 2005 and spread to the United States in 2015. Since then, there have been scattered positive cases in dogs across the country and more recently large outbreaks in several states.

Just like the H3N8 flu virus, H3N2 is an upper respiratory virus. The most common symptoms are coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and lack of appetite. Dogs are contagious for 5-7 days prior to showing the first symptoms and it is for this reason that H3N2 has spread very quickly. Because the virus is relatively new, dogs have no natural immunity against the virus—if unvaccinated and exposed, the chances of being infected is close to 100%.

The significance of an influenza infection is that it compromises the normal defense mechanisms of the canine respiratory tract so that secondary bacterial infections, including pneumonia, are common. The mortality rate for the virus and resulting infections is 8%. The dogs most at risk of dying are very old, young or are immune compromised because of another condition. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Boston terriers, German shepherds, etc. are more susceptible to secondary lung infection.

Who should be vaccinated?

Any dogs that walk in the neighborhood, visit with neighbor dogs through the fence, get dogs-playing-dog_parkbathed/groomed, board, go to training classes or play at the dog park are at high risk.  It is important to understand, however, that a dog does not have to come in direct contact with a dog that has the virus. The virus can live in the environment for several days and so any dogs that are in the same area later are also at risk.  The H3N2 virus can also be brought home by any person that has come into contact with the virus.

Please note that much like the flu vaccine in humans, the vaccine does not guarantee that a dog will not contract the virus but the symptoms will be much less severe and the dog should recover more quickly.  Any dog that has not received the vaccine in the past will need an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. The H3N2 vaccine should continue to be administered annually along with the H3N8 vaccine.

Starting July 1st, all dogs that drop off for baths and boarding at our clinic will need be vaccinated for both strains of influenza. This is for the safety of all patients in our care.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a time for your pup(s) to come in for the vaccine, please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.