What you need to know about “Canine Influenza” or “Canine Flu”
Canine flu has been a growing contagion over the past 10 years. Related to human influenza, the primary concern for our pets is because they are a naïve population to this virus, and the spread of it when it occurs is rapid.
Like its human counterpart, it is highly contagious, and readily transmitted on inanimate surfaces (clothes, floors, walls) for 48 hours, as well as; aerosolized when in the midst of actively infected dogs.
Signs of influenza include; fever, coughing, loss of appetite and lethargy. The virus is shed from infected individuals for 48 hours prior to visible symptoms. This means dogs may therefore be shedding the virus and putting others at risk before it is known they are infected. Animals that have been infected can shed the virus for up to 25 days after symptoms begin, thus a full month of quarantine from other dogs is important to control the spread of disease.
Calgary has not yet been the site of an epidemic, but other areas of Canada have and more than half of the United States has had outbreaks.
Risk factors include; travel to, or exposure to, pets who:
- have traveled to, or been imported from, China, Korea, Mexico and California
- spending time in airport dog holding areas where, again, mixing of healthy and unhealthy pets may occur.
- dog shows where dogs mix from many areas, or spending time in airport dog holding areas where, again, mixing of healthy and unhealthy pets may occur.
There is a vaccine to prevent this disease. If you feel your pet may be at risk and you would like more information, please contact us at 403.239.4657 to set up an appointment to discuss a risk assessment and whether the vaccine is an appropriate measure for your pet.