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Canine Influenza Outbreak

Clients and neighbors, you may have heard that we are in the midst of an outbreak of canine influenza (dog flu) in San Jose. Influenza will initially look like kennel cough, but it often has a longer lasting cough that is less responsive to antibiotics. Many dogs also have a fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and reduced appetite. Most cases recover with supportive care at home, but a few pets have been hospitalized for severe illness.

Check out this local news story: https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/South-Bay-Pet-HospitalReports-Two-Cases-of-Dog-Flu-468392123.html

This is the first time we’ve seen dog flu in the Bay Area, so our dogs are extremely susceptible to catching the disease, and it is also extremely contagious. We’ve now seen patients from two different dog care facilities contract this disease, and it is probably in our local dog parks and elsewhere.

There is a vaccine for the canine influenza virus, which covers both strains that are known to exist. It is not a perfect vaccine, meaning dogs can still catch the disease, but it will lessen the severity of symptoms in dogs that catch the flu. To be fully effective, the canine flu vaccine must be boostered 3 weeks after the initial dose, and then annually to maintain protection. Dogs that do catch this disease should be isolated from other dogs for 3-4 weeks to prevent spread.

We have seen over 20 cases of dogs coughing in this outbreak in the last 10 days, so we have ordered the vaccine to protect our dogs against influenza. We should be able to begin vaccinating dogs by the end of this week or the beginning of next week. For the time being, we recommend that you avoid dog parks, doggie day care, and grooming or boarding where any coughing dogs have been. We strongly recommend vaccination for all dogs that routinely do these things or that have other close contact with other dogs.

Flu is much more contagious and a much more severe disease than routine kennel cough, so we want to do everything we can to reduce the risk and severity of disease in our patients. Please call us at 408- 293-3448 or email at LAVCP699@yahoo.com if you have any questions or would like to have your dog vaccinated for influenza.

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