Canine influenza has not been a Northern California health problem until the last few weeks. More than 50 suspected cases of this highly contagious upper respiratory virus have been identified by South Bay Veterinary hospitals since the 1st of the year.
The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia. The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small.
Most dogs recover within 2 to 3 weeks.
Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection, and illness tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Canine flu can spread to other dogs by aerosolized respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose their dog to other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
As a precaution we are now requiring all canine boarding and grooming patients to receive the two shot vaccination series for influenza. We will be receiving all coughing dogs as potentially contagious (as we do for other potentially contagious upper respiratory diseases) and give clients specific isolation instructions when coming in for exams and treatment. We will be offering vaccination "clinics" to expedite the vaccination process shortly.
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