Watch out for a new, dangerous Canine Influenza

Canine Influenza Virus has arrived in Southern California, according to the Riverside County Animal Services Chief Veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys.  This is a highly contagious respiratory infection characterized by fever, nasal discharge, persistant cough, lack of appetite, dehydration, and sometimes even death.

Most dogs have no immunity because it is a new virus.  It can spread rapidly anywhere dogs congregate, as it is readily transmitted by contact with an infected dog or contaminated surfaces, such as shared water fountains like those we have in the PD dog parks.

According to a post by the Rialto Animal Hospital, virtually all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected, with 10-20% of dogs developing the severe form.  Up to 8% of clinically ill dogs may die from complications. Since this is a viral pneumonia, it cannot be “cured” with antibiotics, but antibiotics do treat the secondary bacterial lung infections that occur with this disease.

Rialto also says vets now have an effective vaccine to prevent this disease and strongly recommend the vaccine for all dogs that go to dog parks, groomers, kennels, or anywhere dogs gather together.

I’ve already got a call in to my vet about it.

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