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Posted on 04-22-2015

Canine influenza has been documented in the Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee area.  It has not been found in the Twin Cities YET.  Dog owners are rightfully concerned so the following is what we are telling clients and the precautions we are taking.  The information we are sharing has been taken from avma.org and cdc.gov.  There is also an article at startribune.com in 4/22/15 newspaper.

What is it?  Dog flu is a respiratory virus that causes a cough, runny nose and fever.  Some dogs develop pneumonia. It is a dog with a cough but sicker, perhaps not eating and lethargic. It is contagious and spread between dogs as they play or come in contact with contaminated objects like toys or water dishes.  80% of the dogs will have a mild form of the disease.

What should I do?  Minimize unknown dog contact at dog parks and kennels.  Unfortunately, the dogs are infectious 4 days before clinical signs so you can’t tell which dog may be carrying the virus

My dog is coughing, what do I do?  Call us to schedule an exam as   coughing is caused by many things much more common than canine flu.  As a precaution, though, keep your dog away from other dogs until we can figure out the cause of the cough. 

Should I vaccinate my dog?  The vaccine is for the previous strain of canine flu.  Opinions and initial testing show that while the vaccine will not prevent this strain of flu, it may reduce the severity and duration of clinical signs.  Currently, we do not carry the vaccine as we feel keeping dogs from possible carriers will be more successful in halting the spread of the disease.

We at Southfork Animal Hospital  take this disease threat very seriously.  The possible influenza cases will be kept away from other patients.  If you call with a coughing dog we will ask a series of questions to decide if your dog is suspect.  All suspects will be admitted through the side door and treated in a specially sterilized room and staff will wear gown and gloves.   

Has the dog been anywhere with other dogs are in the last 2 weeks?  Kennels, dog parks, grooming, showing or training.  SUSPECT IF YES
Have they been to Chicago, Madison Milwaukee area?  SUSPECT IF YES
Along with the respiratory signs, are they not eating or lethargic?  SUSPECT IF YES 

Has the cough been going on for awhile?  Has your dog coughed before?  NOT SUSPECT IF YES                        

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