In February, vets at Broadway Veterinary Hospital diagnosed the valley’s first case of dog flu, confirming fears that an outbreak would occur locally sooner or later. The dog flu has spread steadily across the U.S. over the last ten years, hitting hard in states like Louisiana and Minnesota.
The infected dog from Boise spends much of his time at a local doggie daycare, and likely contracted the disease there and potentially spread it to other canines. This is concerning given how quickly the dog flu can spread and how deadly it could be for even young and healthy dogs.
Vaccination is Essential
Here are Intermountain Pet Hospital, we’ve been promoting and recommending the canine flu vaccination for years. As of a year ago, we made the vaccine mandatory for all doggie daycare and pet lodging pooches to ensure that an outbreak wouldn’t begin or spread at our facility. Sadly, this isn’t the case for most dog day camps and overnight lodging around the valley. We believe that the canine flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your pet from a potentially deadly disease.
How to Protect Your Pet
If your dog isn’t vaccinated against the canine flu, it’s time to get him or her to the vet as soon as you can. The flu vaccine doesn’t have side effects, is safe, and won’t give your dog the flu. Like the human flu vaccine, the shot requires a yearly booster. Unlike the human vaccine, however, the canine immunization is highly effective: only two strains of the disease are known to affect dogs, making it easier to vaccinate against it.
Here’s what you should know about canine influenza now that it’s in the Treasure Valley:
- Influenza is highly contagious: Even if your dog doesn’t attend daycare, they’re likely to come into contact with flu, mainly if there’s a severe outbreak. The virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours, so your dog could get sick just from visiting a park or a groomer.
- An outbreak can be prevented: Pet owners should take immediate steps to vaccinate their dogs to avoid an epidemic.
- Around 5-8 percent of cases are fatal: While your dog may only show minor symptoms with the canine flu, there’s a chance the disease could turn deadly.
Watch for these symptoms of canine influenza in your dog:
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite
If you believe your dog may be sick with canine influenza, call your vet immediately. To keep your pet safe, make sure you get your dog vaccinated as soon as possible, and only send your dog to daycare that requires the canine influenza vaccination for all borders. If you have any questions about the recent flu outbreak or how to keep your dog healthy, contact us today.