Home :: Services :: Dog Health :: Canine Flu Advisory
Canine Flu Advisory
Outbreaks of a new acute respiratory infection have been described in
dog shelters, humane societies, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics
over the past year. This new infection is a syndrome that mimics "kennel
cough" but is caused by a different and new infectious agent. The virus
was identified and characterized by veterinarians at the University of
Florida and Cornell University this year. It is the canine influenza virus.
Because its a new virus and there is no currently available vaccine, all
dogs are susceptible. Cases have been reported throughout the US.
What this means to you as a responsible dog owner......................
- Your dog is susceptible.
- Your dog may be exposed to the virus while in
contact with other dogs at the park, at the groomer, at a vet clinic or
boarding facility. In fact, your dog may be exposed to the virus by you
if you have been in contact with other dogs. Inanimate objects and people
can carry the virus. The virus is thought to be destroyed by commonly
used disinfectants. So, wash your hands after contacting other dogs and
remember that your clothes may also carry the virus.
- The vast majority of dogs who are infected and
become ill will have a mild form of the disease. The most commons sign
is a cough that persists for up to 3-4 weeks despite treatment with antibiotics
and cough suppressants. It can easily be confused with what we all know
as "kennel cough."
- A small number of dogs, typically the very old,
young or debilitated may develop a more severe form of the disease. In
this case the signs are consistent with pneumonia and include a cough,
high fever, and difficulty breathing. These dogs are at the greatest risk
of dying. At the moment, the fatality rate is low; 1-5% of those dogs
who are infected.
- Consult you veterinarian if your dogs shows any
of the signs noted above. Warn others that s/he may have a contagious
respiratory disease and minimize all contact with other dogs
- Don't panic, but do use common sense. To put it
into perspective this is similar to the flu virus that makes the rounds
among people every year. It is not transmissible to humans, it is strictly
a canine virus.
- Contact your veterinarian for more information
regarding this new disease. Internet chat rooms, "the rumor mill" or even
the media who will be tempted to sensationalize this, are not necessarily
good sources of accurate information. Because this is an emerging disease
there will be new information available on a regular basis. Its important
that you stay up to date.
- Other reputable sources of information are: