Canine Influenza Update

Canine Influenza has made it to the Bay Area! There have been several confirmed cases with up to 50 suspected cases in our area and these numbers are growing daily. This is a highly contagious upper respiratory virus that has symptoms similar to typical upper respiratory viruses or “kennel cough”.

  • Symptoms are usually mild: coughing, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, fever, decreased appetite and lethargy, but can become severe, and in rare cases, fatal. Dogs can have some, all or none of these symptoms.
  • The incubation period is one to seven days from infection to symptoms.
  • The virus is highly contagious and is transmitted by the air (coughing and sneezing), physical contact with discharge and through toys, bowls or bedding. Humans can transmit it from dog to dog by touch or from their clothes.
  • It is *not* transmissible to people but is to other dogs and possibly cats.
  • It can be diagnosed by testing with throat and eye swabs. It takes several days to get the results from the lab.
  • There is no medical treatment for the virus, but we can help them feel better until they can fight the virus off by treating the symptoms: cough suppressants, antibiotics to prevent/treat secondary infections, fluids for hydration and fever.
  • Your dog(s) may be contagious for up to three weeks, so it is critical that they are kept home away from any other pets during this time.
  • There is a new vaccine available for the two current strains. It is a two-booster series given three weeks apart, however, your dog is not fully protected until two weeks after the second booster. It is likely that local kennels, day-care and grooming facilities will start requiring dogs to be vaccinated.
  • Bollinger Canyon Animal Hospital now recommends the vaccine for any dog that goes to a groomer, boarding facility, puppy class or dog park. There is no vaccine currently for cats.
  • If you chose to vaccinate your dog and (s)he is under six years of age, has no symptoms and has been examined by us in the last 12 months, you can schedule an appointment for the nurses to give the vaccines. If your dog is seven or over, it needs to have been examined in the last six months and have no symptoms for the nurses to vaccinate. Should your dog not fit this criteria, please schedule an appointment with a doctor to have your dog vaccinated.

Click for more information from the CDC or from the AVMA

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