Pets with Disabilities

UPDATE Canine Influenza 2016: Pet Owners Guide

 

Bear's last photo

Bear’s last photo

CANINE INFLUENZA: Pet Owners’ Guide (Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It  is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.

Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats. 

Read my original post from 2012 on the death of our beloved, Bear. ~JGT

SYMPTONS & DIAGNOSIS

CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. Some dogs may not show signs of illness, but can shed the virus and infect other dogs. 

Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian.

CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 3 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later.

TRANSMISSION & PREVENTION OF CANINE INFLUENZA

Dogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%).

The spread of CIV can be reduced by isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness. Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.

There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the  first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. Used against H3N8, the vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but appear to reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the length of time when an infected dog may shed the virus in its respiratory secretions and the amount of virus shed – making them less contagious to other dogs.

In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license to Zoetis to market the first commercially available H3N2 canine influenza vaccine​. Later that month, Merck Animal Health announced the availability​ of an H3N2 canine influenza vaccine, also conditionally licensed by USDA. 

The CIV vaccination is a “lifestyle” vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks. 

PLEASE keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date & discuss your pet’s needs and your concerns with your veterinarian.  We lost our little, Bear in 2012 and less than 2 weeks after his last trip to the groomer.  All of his vaccinations had been up-to-date. Read my original article here. ~JGT

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions (for pet owners)

Canine Influenza reference page (for veterinarians)

H3N2 Frequently Asked Questions (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)

Doginfluenza.com​ (Merck Animal Health)

 

 

Canine Flu 2015

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FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE PETS & FOR THOSE THAT DON’T!

The Following is Posted Very Low on the Refrigerator Door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object and I’ll have you know that tripping me doesn’t help because I will fall faster than you can run!

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this, however; do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch forever to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also realize that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm on your part.

And, for the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! I have been using the bathroom for years and canine/feline attendance is not required. If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to bark, claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. Just realize I must exit through the same door I entered~ eventually!

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt~ I cannot stress this enough!

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT & LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:

(1) They live here. You don’t.

(2) If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture! That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture.

 (3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

 (4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs & cats are better than kids because they:

 (1) Eat less,

 (2) Don’t ask for money all the time,

 (3) Are easier to train,

 (4) Normally come when called,

 (5) Never ask to drive the car,

 (6) Don’t smoke or drink,

 (7) Don’t want to wear your clothes,

 (8) Don’t have to buy the latest fashions,

 (9) Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college,

and finally;

 (10) If they get pregnant, you can legally sell their children!

If you don’t like our rules, don’t visit us! Remember; I’ll be watching you!~Duffy

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Although the first writer of the above is unknown, I know that many “tweaks” to the original have been made over the years~ and through my own experience, I have done so as well! ~JGT