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By now you may have heard about the Canine influenza Virus (CIV) that is spreading throughout North Carolina. There has unfortunately already been two fatalities due to this highly contagious virus (one in the Raleigh area and the other in Morehead City) and many confirmed cases of dogs having contracted the virus. 

We are now carrying the CIV vaccine which covers both of the main strains, H3N2 and H3N8, and highly recommend it to any dog that may be at a higher risk of coming in contact with the virus. Those that are high risk would be any canines that attend dog shows/events, go to dog parks, board at kennels/shelters, get groomed etc.

The vaccine requires a booster shot 2-3 weeks after the initial vaccination for your dog to be fully covered. As like the human influenza vaccine, there is still a possibility that your dog could contract the virus but the hope is the vaccine will make the illness much less severe. Some boarding facilities are now requiring it, but each facility has different protocol - so make sure to check with them if you plan on boarding your pup anywhere. The information below was taken from the AKC website: it is extremely informative and well worth the read. 

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the virus, whether or not you think your dog is at risk or if you'd like to set up an appointment to get the vaccine. For current clients we are not requiring an exam for the vaccination but you will still need an appointment. We hope everyone stays happy, healthy and safe!

 

Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus is spread through:

  • Close proximity to infected dogs (it is airborne and can travel up to 20 ft.; Dog parks are ideal for spreading the virus)
  • Contact with contaminated items (bowls, leashes, crates, tables, clothing, dog runs, etc.)
  • People moving between infected and uninfected dogs
  • 80% of all dogs that are exposed to the virus will contract it
  • The virus lives up to 24 hours on soft surfaces and up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.

*Some exposed dogs will be subclinical carriers - meaning some dogs will contract and spread the virus without showing symptoms.

*Dogs show clinical signs within 24-48 hours and can shed the virus for up to 28 days from exposure.

*Most dogs will completely recover with proper treatment.

*Dogs that regularly interact with dogs outside of their own family or frequent places where many dogs gather are most susceptible to exposure to      Canine Influenza Virus.

Symptoms

  • Dry, hacking cough (similar to kennel cough)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Fever (normal temperature is 100-102)

Prevention

  • The best protection is vaccination. There is now a single vaccination for both the H3N2 and H3N8 strains of the virus. The vaccination requires a booster shot two weeks after the initial vaccine. Vaccination provides the best chance of immunity within 7-14 days of the booster shot.
  • Isolate sick animals and keep them isolated for up to 30 days after symptoms subside.
  • Practice good sanitation. Use a bleach and water mixture diluted to 1-part bleach x 30 parts water to disinfect common areas such as tables, bowls, leashes, crates, etc. Allow items to thoroughly air dry for a minimum of 10 minutes before exposing dogs to them. Bleach breaks down quickly so solution should be made daily. Keep in mind that bleach becomes inactive in UV light. If mopping, use two buckets so as not to cross contaminate areas.
  • Wash your hands frequently, ideally between handling different dogs. At the very minimum, hand sanitizer should be used between handling dogs. 
  • Use disposable gowns or wipe down clothing and shoes with a bleach solution between dogs or after leaving an area where dogs congregate.
  • Food/water bowls should be made of stainless steel instead of plastic because scratched plastic is hard to fully disinfect.

Treatment 

  • Treatment of Canine Influenza Virus requires veterinary assistance. If you believe your dog may have CIV, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Untreated, the illness may progress to pneumonia or other, more serious problems. H3N2 can lead to severe secondary pneumonia which can cause extremely sick dogs with potential fatalities.
  • Most dogs take 2-3 weeks to recover from the illness.

Containment

  • Any dog suspected of having Canine Influenza Virus should be immediately isolated from other dogs and should not attend dog shows, day care, grooming facilities, dog parks, or other places dogs gather. Dogs are contagious for up to 30 days once they have started showing symptoms.
  • Contact your veterinarian to let them know that your dog may be showing symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus. If your dog is going to a veterinary hospital or clinic, call ahead to let them know you have a suspected case of CIV. They may ask you to follow a specific protocol before entering the clinic to minimize the spread of the disease, including waiting in your car until they are ready to examine your dog. 
  • Keep sick dogs at home and isolated from other dogs and cats until you are certain the illness has run its course (typically 3-4 weeks).