By Katy Cable-TWR
A 2 min. read
This year's flu bug is so horrible, it's even making the family dog sick! Every January it seems many of us kick off the new year with more than just a pile of post-holiday bills. It's quite common to receive the unwanted gift of a nasty flu bug. It then spreads faster than Doug the Pug can down a pizza, and keeps on giving right through spring. What is normally a miserable 5 days in bed, aching with fever, has hit with epic proportions this year. The flu bug is so intense, many otherwise healthy people are using all their accrued vacation time taking "shots" of a different kind while laying in hospital beds deathly ill. Even those who got flu shots are getting knocked down with this strain. And if that isn't bad enough, even our DOGS are now at risk.
I recently took Olive to VCA’s Airport-Irvine Animal Hospital for her monthly Paw-dicure (NAIL TRIM) and inquired if this “DOG FLU" was anything I needed to be concerned with. The staff said they hadn’t seen any cases and didn’t think it was anything to worry about. Not two days later, it was indeed worrisome enough for Dr. Radovitch, the Chief Medical Director at the hospital, to issue an important warning regarding the Canine Influenza Virus
In Dr. Radovitch’s statement, he reports, that in the last 3 weeks there have been 120 confirmed cases in Central and Northern California counties and it's heading south faster than a runaway train. Even more troublesome is the fact that this strain (H3N2) is a mutation of the human Asian Flu viruses and can be transmitted from canines to humans.
In LA county, a sprinkling of cases arose from a handful of dogs recently imported from China and quickly spread to 35 other canines. This Canine Influenza is the same strain that caused a terrible outbreak in Chicago which affected thousands of dogs and killed hundreds.
Canine influenza is currently leap-frogging around the country and now appears to be right in our own backyard. Radovitch states, "The infected dogs can shed the virus for as long as 30 days, and thus remain contagious for long periods after clinical disease has abated." With this highly contagious outbreak, it is recommended that all dogs who attend doggie daycare, boarding/grooming facilities, bark parks, and other places where many dogs congregate, receive the vaccine. It is also highly recommended for pets with compromised health, “brachy” dogs and older pets. Should someone in your household travel frequently, it's advisable to consider protecting your pups by having them immunized.
Dr. Radovitch warns, "It does take some time for immunity to develop, so don't wait until your pup is symptomatic protect them." The combination H3N2/H3N8 CIV vaccine consists of 2 vaccines taken 3 weeks apart followed by a yearly booster. While you brace yourself by wearing a flu mask and carrying hand sanitizer here are the facts:
The symptoms for canines include: lethargy, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite and low-grade fever. Mortality is less than 10 percent and most dogs recover in two to three weeks. However, I am seeing very sick dogs requiring a stay in the animal hospital and I want to get the warning out.
The canine flu resembles another contagious illness called Bordetella Pertussis (kennel cough), and tests must be sent out to confirm a suspected flu case.
As a precaution, if you suspect your dog may have the flu, keep them at home and avoid contact with other dogs. If you come down with a bug, wash your hands and use plenty of hand sanitizer to keep it from spreading.
Remember, the best defense against getting sick is of course staying healthy by reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, and fresh air.
For more health tips and fun events, please check out my website: www.weeklyrunt.com and other blogs. Here’s to your health! 😷💕-Katy