You may have heard about the recent outbreak of a new type of dog flu affecting pets across the country. This highly contagious infection is called Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), which has two known strains, H3N8 and H3N2.
In an effort to provide our clients with the highest level of care, we have been monitoring diseases that our canine patients may be considered to have an increased risk. (CIV) is an emerging disease. The canine population is largely immunonaive (minimal immune system exposure), so exposure can cause widespread disease, especially in situations where high levels of dog-to-dog contact occurs. If you have a puppy, elderly, or pregnant dog or a dog that is immunocompromised, you should take extra precautions.
Facts about CIV:
· The virus is passed in a similar fashion to all other flu viruses and can be transmitted on inanimate objects such as counter tops, floors, shoes/clothes, and toys.
· Dogs can shed the virus for 2-4 days before they begin showing symptoms of the disease.
· The virus can be difficult to diagnose with some routine tests because there is a very short period of time between viral shedding and symptoms when a dog can test positive.
· Most cases have mild to moderate upper respiratory signs, but geriatric, immunocompromised and very young dogs may develop more severe or potentially life threatening disease.
· Respiratory infections in dogs are often a result of more than one type of virus or bacterium.
· Most “outbreaks” of the disease have been linked to kennels and boarding facilities where dogs come in close contact with other pets.
· Just as with the human influenza, there is a vaccine for CIV. The vaccination helps control the development of disease symptoms, or if the pet should become infected—having the vaccination may decrease the amount of time that a pet sheds the virus or exhibits symptoms.
Given the risk of this disease and the very social nature of our canine population, the Doctors and staff of Brassfield Animal Hospital recommend that all owners that go to dog parks, doggy daycares, grooming facilities, pet training, pet shopping, or use a boarding facility have their pets vaccinated for CIV, as they are at adequate risk and should include this vaccination in their standard of care. The vaccination is given as a series of two doses, scheduled three weeks apart and then yearly, thereafter.
It is a great compliment to us that you trust us to care for your pet. Please know that is recommendation is made with them in mind. We would much rather be proactive and informative than to play catch up after an outbreak that may involve your pet. We have included a brochure for your review or you can visit www.dogflufacts.com for more information. Please call today with any questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment to being your pet on this vaccination series.
The Doctors at Brassfield Animal Hospital