Spring has sprung! The grass is green….and we are getting super close to our Grand Openin’!!! (OK, so it’s not the best rhyme, but under the circumstances, it was the best I got!) I know I’ve been saying we should be opening in “about a month” for, oh, say, 5 months now….but good news: Just received a GO from the electrical inspector. Plumbing and fire inspections are on the morrow. We should be paving by the end of the week and things are looking good for a Mid-May opening. Not sure if it will be the Ides of May but as soon I as have a date it will be posted, tweeted, e-mail blasted and shouted from major rooftops across the county.
In the meantime, I thought I should say a few words about the latest infectious disease scare for dog owners….Canine Flu. What is it? Will my dog get it? Is there a vaccine for it?
I’ll do my best to fill you all in, as many clients and friends have been asking the above questions lately.
Canine Flu refers to a contagious respiratory disease of dogs that is caused by the Canine Influenza virus. It is Influenza A H3N8…originally an equine (horse) virus that mutated (as flu viruses often do) and became infective to dogs. It was first reported in racing greyhounds in 2004. We had a fairly intense outbreak in 2005 in NJ. The latest news stories you are hearing about are referring to an outbreak in theChicago area. The strain of influenza has been identified as Influenza A H3N2. This strain was originally detected in dogs in South Korea. It is known possibly be infective to cats as well, but there is not known risk to humans.
The vast majority of dogs who come in contact Canine Influenza virus will be infected, yet have mild disease. (Lethargy, soft cough, mild fever) A small percentage can become very ill from it, however, so it is important to alert your veterinarian if you suspect your dog may have symptoms consistent with the flu. See the following link for excellent, detailed information from the AVMA regarding Canine Influenza: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs.aspx
There is a commercially available canine influenza vaccine. This vaccine is an inactivated form of the H3N8 strain and is shown to reduce the severity of clinical signs (symptoms) in dogs exposed to Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) H3N8. It is also shown to reduce the shedding of the virus. The current Canine Vaccination Guidelines published by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) consider the CIV vaccine to be a “non-core” vaccine. This means that it is up to the discretion of the treating veterinarian as to the necessity of the vaccine, typically based on the lifestyle of the dog (i.e., higher risk patients are those that are housed in kennels or shelters, or are frequent visitors to dog daycare facilities and dog parks). It is very important to note that, at this time, the H3N8 vaccine has not been determined to be protective against the H3N2 strain of the CIV. Speak to your veterinarian if you any concerns or interest in the vaccine.
Here are some more links to some more helpful information: