MAVH hasn’t diagnosed any cases of Canine Influenza yet BUT we want to be diligent in our surveillance of this disease because dogs are members of our families and they often travel right along with us.
K9 Flu was first reported in 2004 in Florida and now has been detected in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Canine influenza virus is highly contagious— and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact; coughing or sneezing; or contact with contaminated surfaces. etc. Additional clinical signs of infection include lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, and/or wheezing.
Basically, Canine Influenza can seem a lot like Kennel Cough or other respiratory infections that can affect your Dog; but is suspected most often with higher fever, and/or when symptoms are more severe, and/or last longer than would be typical.
Dogs at highest risk for infection are those that might be moving in and out of shelters over long distances, such as rescue placements, or those being housed in close quarters at dog tracks, dog shows, kennels, shelters, grooming salons, and even “doggie daycares”, etc.
As a petparent you need to know that Canine Influenza represents a brand new challenge for your dog’s immune system. That means this is a virus your Dog has not been vaccinated against in years past.
So the best first step is to keep your Dog healthy by providing proper amounts of good food, fresh water, rest, exercise and consistent veterinary care. A strong immune system could be your Dog’s best defense against Canine Influenza.
Additionally, there is a vaccination available. This vaccination will not prevent Canine Influenza but “has been proven to significantly reduce the severity of influenza (actually reduces the viral shed) and the length of time that a dog is sick”.
If your dog is at high-risk for exposure, your Veterinarian could recommend an initial vaccination, boosted in 2 to 4 weeks, then bi-annual revaccination. However, please be advised that it takes approximately 7-10 days for your pet’s immune system to respond to this vaccine.