https://amandakpetsitters.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/amanda-k-pet-sitters-logo.png 0 0 Amanda Vogt https://amandakpetsitters.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/amanda-k-pet-sitters-logo.png Amanda Vogt2015-05-05 22:13:402015-05-05 22:13:40Update: Latest on the Canine Flu
By Amanda Vogt
The canine flu outbreak that originally hit Chicago and sickened over 1,100 dogs and killed at least five in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, is still a very active danger. A PAWS shelter in Tinley Park remains closed due to the virus and many area boarding facilities are still not accepting dogs.
The virus is believed to gotten its start in doggie daycare and then spread quickly as people dropped off their dogs with boarders for Spring Break vacations.
Because it is so contagious and can lie dormant in an infected yet seemingly healthy dog for a week, pet owners are rightfully keeping their dogs away from dog parks, kennels and doggy daycare centers. At the very least, before dog owners engage their pets in any activity involving contact with other dogs, they should make sure there is no evidence of a flu outbreak in the area.
There is no vaccination against this strain, an Asian strain different from the variety commonly found in the U.S. Humans are not in danger of catching the virus from an infected pet, according to the CDC. There have, however, been cases of the Asian canine flu being transmitted from dogs to cats, and possibly guinea pigs and ferrets.
The virus, like kennel cough, which has also had a stronger than usual showing this Spring, can spread from dog to dog through shared food bowls, toys, blankets or leashes and even the air around them. Vets and animal care workers have reported constantly changing their clothing and shoes for fear of unknowingly transmitting the virus that way.
Both viruses are highly contagious, and although rarely fatal, can sicken your dog for weeks. Puppies, dogs older than 7 and dogs with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to serious complications. The symptoms for both are similar: congestion, coughing, sneezing, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and nasal and eye discharge. The cough associated with kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, tends to be harsher and more frequent.
Kennel cough is sometimes caused by canine flu. Both viruses can lead to complications, however, such as pheumonia. Both viruses also infect dogs regardless of breed, health status, sex and even vaccine status. Illness in vaccinated dogs may be milder, but there are no guarantees, according to the AVMA. Canine flu can be diagnosed early in the illness by testing a nasal or throat swab. Consecutive blood tests over a ten day period work even better.
The best way to avoid your dog becoming infected is to avoid contact with other dogs. Almost all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected, and the majority (80%) will develop flu-like symptoms. And since infected dogs don’t show symptoms for up to 10 days, you can’t necessarily spot and avoid a sick dog.
Your best bet to protect your pet is to make sure boarding facilities, dog parks and other places where lots of dogs congregate and share close spaces have not experienced any recent outbreaks and are appropriately sanitized. Or, better still, hire a qualified pet sitter who can take care of your pet in his/her own environment and eliminate or limit exposure to other dogs. This might prove an especially valid option if you have a puppy, an elderly dog or a dog with health issues.