We want to alert you to a health concern for certain populations of dogs in North Carolina. As many as 200 dogs nationwide and at least three in North Carolina have been diagnosed this summer with canine influenza (dog flu), according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Animal Welfare Section.
Facts about Influenza A:
It is a respiratory tract disease that can appear like kennel cough. However, the influenza virus can cause a much more serious disease.
It is caused by a highly contagious virus and occurs most frequently in high-density dog populations; i.e. boarding facilities, breeding kennels, pet stores, rescue groups, dog shows, grooming facilities, etc. (these are the populations of dogs we are recommending be vaccinated).
It is spread between dogs by aerosol and direct transmission of respiratory secretions. No transmission to humans has been reported.
Signs of Influenza A to watch for:
- Soft, moist cough that may persist for weeks.
- Decreased appetite
- Nasal discharge
- Some patients may develop pneumonia
Supportive care, i.e. fluid therapy, nutritional support, rest, etc. Antibiotics are indicated if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected. The fatality rate is 5-8% of those patients that develop bronchopneumonia.
Dogs that are at risk (see notation above) should be vaccinated for kennel cough as well as the canine influenza vaccine. This may not prevent infection, but it may reduce the severity and duration of the disease. Your dog would receive the first vaccination and a booster 2 weeks later. The company who makes the vaccine will also cover any pet vaccinated for Influenza A up to $5000 in treatment if they do test positive for Influenza A due to exposure after being fully vaccinated.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment to have your dog vaccinated please call us at (704) 588-9788 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also be presenting additional information in a Client Education Evening in our Educational Center on Thursday, August 6th at 6pm. Refreshments will be provided and space is limited so please RSVP to reserve a seat if you are interested in attending.
The Doctors and Staff of The Carolinas Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic