I was going to write about ticks but the canine influenza is spreading like a wildfire, so this post is about that.
This is part of an article about the flu spreading in Ontario, Canada but it’s all over California and the west coast.
Here are some key messages (for dogs anywhere, but particularly those in areas where canine flu has been confirmed):
If your dog is sick, keep it away from other dogs.
If you are out with your dog and see a sick dog, keep your dog away from it.
If you have contact with a sick dog, wash your hands (and ideally change clothes) before you touch your dog.
Most dogs with influenza get over it on their own. As long as they are bright, alert, eating and don’t have yellowish nasal discharge, we typically do not provide any specific treatments beyond cough suppressants, if coughing is excessive.
If your dog has signs that could be consistent with influenza (e.g. cough, nasal discharge, fever, runny nose or eyes) and you are taking it to your veterinarian, make sure you call the veterinary clinic first so that they can use measures to prevent exposure of other dogs at the clinic (e.g. admitting your dog directly to an exam room or isolation area).
If your dog is sick and has been at a kennel, doggy daycare, puppy class, or any other event, contact the owner/operator to let them know.
If your dog is diagnosed with influenza or has signs consistent with influenza, it should be kept away from other dogs for 4 weeks (even if it no longer looks sick sooner than this).
Dogs that should be prioritized for vaccination are:
Dogs at increased risk of exposure to the virus
Dogs that attend kennels, classes, day cares, shows/competitions and other areas where many dogs mix.
Dogs that are at increased risk of severe disease if they get infected
Dogs with underlying heart or respiratory disease.
Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds.
Breeding kennel dogs.
H3N2 CIV is different than the common H3N2 human (seasonal) influenza virus. There is currently no evidence that H3N2 CIV can infect people.
However, the potential for human infection cannot be discounted. Of greater concern is the potential for re-assortment of human influenza and CIV, if a dog
(or person) is infected with both strains at the same time, as occasional infections of dogs with human H3N2 or H1N1 influenza viruses have been identified.
Re-assortment of influenza viruses is of concern because it can potentially result in a virus that is readily able to infect people but is different enough from other
human influenza viruses that people have no immunity from previous influenza infection or vaccination.