You have most likely heard the words “canine influenza virus” or “dog flu” circulating local news broadcasts and possibly even the dog park lately due to a recent outbreak. Summer doesn’t seem like the right time of year to be worrying about runny noses or coughing, but in the animal world, the flu virus isn’t seasonal but instead can affect your dog’s respiratory and overall health year-round.
The most recent canine influenza virus (CIV) outbreak has reached into the southeastern states, including Kentucky. There have been a few cases diagnosed in Louisville, so now is definitely the time to educate yourself on this virus and what the outbreak means for you and your dog.
What is it? CIV is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can potentially be fatal. It is easily spread directly from dog to dog through coughing, sneezing, licking, sniffing or nuzzling. It can also be contracted indirectly through shared bowls and toys, as well as the clothing and hands of owners.
What are the symptoms? Clinical signs of CIV include runny eyes and nose, lethargy or lack of energy, coughing and loss of appetite. A dog can have CIV for up to 24 days. That means a dog can potentially spread the disease in social situations for approximately three and a half weeks.
Where can my dog contract it? High risk locations include but are not limited to dog parks, doggie day cares, dog shows, dog sporting events, groomers, boarding facilities, and kennels.
How can I protect my dog? Keeping your dog from high risk environments is one way to protect your pet. We know doing so isn’t always practical, so we also encourage vaccinating your pet. We currently offer a flu vaccine that requires two boosters the first time it is administered and after that is only required once annually. If you choose to vaccinate your pet, please allow about two weeks after the last booster before taking your dog to social and high risk locations.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has CIV? Contact us as soon as possible. Be sure to let the receptionist know what symptoms your dog is presenting and how long you’ve noticed changes in your pet’s health. Once your appointment is made, you will be given specific instructions to help keep our clinic from contamination. We will ask that you remain in your car and give us a call once you arrive. From there a designated veterinary technician will help safely bring your dog in our clinic.
Check out our Facebook Live video with Dr. Thompson from yesterday by clicking the picture below. If you have more questions, feel free to give us a call at 502-425-5834 or check out www.doginfluenza.com.