You may have seen some of the recent media reports about Canine Influenza, or "dog flu" which has been spreading quickly through the Bay Area. Dogs can become ill to varying degrees, with symptoms from mild to life-threatening:
Mild form — Dogs suffering with the mild form of canine influenza develop a soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days. They may also be lethargic and have reduced appetite and a fever. Sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose may also be observed. Some dogs have a dry cough and a thick nasal discharge, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
Severe form — Dogs with the severe form of canine influenza develop high fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort. Pneumonia may be due to a secondary bacterial infection.
Virtually all dogs exposed to this extremely contagious virus become infected (and therefore contagious) and approximately 80% will show symptoms. Vaccination can help by decreasing the severity and duration of the illness and reduce the amount of virus that is shed by infected dogs.
For more information, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association's Canine Influenza site.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CANINE INFLUENZA
Canine Influenza is highly contagious, and dogs are contagious for 1 to 5 days before symptoms appear. Avoid dog parks and other places where there are many dogs until your dog is fully vaccinated.
The Canine Influenza vaccine requires a booster vaccine 3 weeks after the intial vaccine, then annual vaccination thereafter.
Canine Influenza is a virus, but can lead to life-threatening secondary bacterial infections. Contact us right away if your dog has any of the following symptoms: cough, sneezing, vomiting, lethargy or difficulty breathing.