Canine Influenza and your dog

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.

Our recommendations:
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 3 weeks later. The company who makes the vaccine currently offers to cover medical treatment for any pet vaccinated for Influenza A, up to $5000, if they do test positive for Influenza A due to exposure after being fully vaccinated.

To ensure the safety and health of our patients, effective October 1st we will require all dogs coming to Atlantic Animal Hospital & Pet Care Resort for boarding, grooming, doggie daycare or drop-off care to be current on the Canine Influenza vaccination.


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