Canine Influenza outbreaks have been popping up around the southeast over the past several months. What does this mean for us in middle Tennessee?
What to look for if I think my pet has been exposed?
Mild symptoms may include:
Soft, moist cough or dry cough
Nasal discharge (may indicate secondary bacterial infection)
Sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose
Fever (up to 103ºF)
Severe symptoms may also include:
High fevers (104ºF to 106ºF)
Increased respiratory rates and trouble breathing which may indicate pneumonia
If your dog is coughing or showing other symptoms, call us to schedule an exam with the doctor. Since your dog can remain contagious for up to 24 days, you will also need to keep him isolated from other dogs and—in the case of the H3N2 strain—from cats.
How do I prevent this in my pet?
Minimizing exposure of your pet to areas where many pets are gathered is the best prevention. If your pet attends obedience classes, boarding, or grooming, make sure the facility you are using is aware of canine influenza and using good practices to prevent spread of the virus.
At this time we are not requiring your pet to be vaccinated for canine influenza for boarding or grooming. However, you will see a new questionnaire at the time of drop off so that we can reduce the risk of your pet and any of the other pets staying at our facility. If a pet is suspected to be infected, that pet will be hospitalized and isolated immediately, and we will contact you promptly.
Should my pet be vaccinated?
We have the vaccine that protects against both strains of canine influenza available. We recommend having your pet vaccinated if you are planning a trip with your pet to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, East Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois, and if your pet will be exposed to other pets while there (boarding, grooming, dog parks, or campgrounds etc). You may also elect having your pet vaccinated, even if he stays in middle Tennessee. Pets frequenting facilities locally may still be exposed to pets that have traveled here from other areas of the country. The cost for the vaccines to protect your dog from both strains is $40. If it is the first flu vaccine your pet has ever received, it will need to be re-boostered in 3 weeks, and then annually.