Pet Waggin' Pet Care Team
Canine Flu Reported in LA County
Have you heard of Canine Flu? Pet owners in LA county are being warned about the recent out break of Canine Flu.
Below are frequently asked questions Pet Waggin' has received.
Q: What exactly is Dog Flu?
A: There are two strains of this nasty little virus, H3N2 and H3N8. The later was first reported in 2004 when the equine strain of the virus mutated from race horses to greyhounds where they shared a racing track in Florida. H3N2 also mutated from another creature. This time wild birds in Korea, China and Thailand. The CIV form of H3N2 was initially reported around 2005. It appeared in the U.S. in 2015 around the Chicago area. This latest outbreak is said to have arrived on the west coast by way of rescue dogs from China flown here with the hopes of a better life. How depressing is that? We really searched for facts to validate or disprove this claim but couldn't nail anything down. It appears that last year H3N2 made the jump to cats which can then spread to other cats as well. However the feline cases are very minimal. CIV has been reported in 40 U.S. States.
Q: What are the symptoms of CIV and how does it spread?
A: CIV spreads through aerosolized respiratory secretions. Ummm...what? Yeah, we had to look it up too. Basically the virus can be spread through actions like barking, coughing and sneezing. Much like how we spread the four different types of the influenza virus that affect humans. Well, maybe not the barking but this is a judgment free zone. CIV can spread through infected surfaces and can remain viable on hard surfaces( i.e. food and water bowls, toys, and crates) for two days. It can also remain viable on clothing( yours or theirs) leashes and collars for 24 hours and your hands and face for 12 hours. The incubation period can be two to ten days from contact. This is when dogs are the most contagious and "shed" the virus most. This means your dog probably won't show symptoms until they've shed the virus like a Furminator on a double coated corgi.
Q: What is the status of the recent cases reported in LA county?
A: LA county Public Health reports as of April 2017, 35 infected dogs have been documented. All of said dogs were quarantined after confirmation of infection.
Q: Is there a vaccine and is it safe?
A: Yes, there are actually two kinds but they aren't both available everywhere. The vaccines however are not approved for cats. These vaccines are often recommended by Vets for dogs who are often boarded, pack walked, or frequent the dog park, daycare and anywhere else multiple dogs congregate. Now, are they safe? This question accompanies many strong opinions. If you choose to not vaccinate your dog consider removing them from high risk situations if they aren't in general good health or you are worried about their safety if they contract the virus. The CIV vaccine isn't required like rabies but should be strongly considered if your dog is in one of these high risk situations.
Q: What are the side effects from the vaccine?
A: Some dogs won't experience any side effects at all while others may experience mild flu like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Others may experience allergic reactions or swelling and redness at the injection site.
Q: What steps should I take to prevent exposing my dog/s to the virus?
A: Basic good hygiene is the best first step. As well as disinfecting any surfaces frequented by pets such as food and water bowls while avoiding those communal bowls at the park or in the neighborhood. If you think you've come in contact with an infected dog, sanitize any surfaces that have come in contact with them like your clothing and even yourself if you received any doggy kisses.
Q: Are certain breeds more at risk?
A: The virus is still developing so all dogs are susceptible. 80% of all dogs exposed to the virus contract it. Up to 25% of infected dogs will not show symptoms but will still be able to shed the virus. As with most viruses puppies, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk for contracting pneumonia and more serious complications. Like any other respiratory illness flat faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs may experience some symptoms more severely.
Q: Where can I find more information?
A: LA County Public Health or the VCA
We also recommend checking in with your Veterinarian frequently to see if there have been any new developments or recommendations for you and your family.
And remember, stay safe, sane and informed.
If you believe your dog may have been exposed to Canine Flu, please contact your vet immediately.
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