Canine Flu UPDATE: Should I be worried? New Vaccination Requirements

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Hi Smart Dogs! Auntie A here…

I have been monitoring the breaking news about the Dog Flu coming to North Texas and have been consulting closely with our trusted vets. Let me make this perfectly clear – we are NOT in the middle of an epidemic, however, several cases of the Dog Flu have been confirmed in the Metroplex. To be proactive to protect our pups, I have decided it is time to update our policy on the Dog Flu vaccine:

Effective August 31st, all dogs attending Smart Dog Dallas for any reason (daycare, boarding, training, rescue, etc) must have both the initial dose and the booster of the Canine Influenza vaccine.
Please consult carefully with your vet. The vaccine given to your pup must be the newer version that covers the strain currently infecting dogs in the area – H3N2.

What the heck is Dog Flu?

Dog Flu (Canine Influenza) is a viral disease that is transmitted between dogs via nose-to-nose contact.  It presents very similarly to other upper respiratory diseases like Kennel Cough (Bordetella), but the symptoms are usually more severe and are accompanied by a fever.  The virus has an incubation period of about 1 – 3 days and the dog can be contagious for up to 14 days after exposure.  The version of the disease (H3N2) recently seen in North Texas is typically the milder form of the disease.  Symptoms can include one or more of the following:  a cough, red and/or runny eyes, sneezing and nasal discharge, weight loss and fever.  In most cases, symptoms will last 5-7 days and will usually go away on their own (the dry cough can stick around for as long as 4 weeks).  A cough suppressant is typically prescribed and antibiotics may be used if there is a secondary infection.  In rare cases, however, the fever may be high enough to cause pneumonia and make a dog much, much sicker.  Either way, you should visit your vet and notify Smart Dog if your dog shows any of the symptoms above.

What are you doing to protect my pup?

The first step to prevention is vaccination.  Please know that we are NOT fans of over-vaccination and strive to keep our vaccination requirements in line with the recommendations of our consulting veterinarians.

The second step to prevention is vigilance and quarantine procedures. We at Smart Dog Dallas have years of experience monitoring the health of our pups and always err on the side of caution if we have concerns.  Our staff is specially trained to watch for signs of contagious upper-respiratory infections (like Bordetella and Canine Influenza).  We have had industry-leading cleaning and disease prevention protocols in place for years and are constantly working closely with our consulting vets to ensure we are staying on top of the best practices to keep your pup happy and healthy.

We already have rock-solid procedures in place to handle the potential for Canine Flu because the steps to prevent the spread of Bordetella (a disease we’ve been preventing for years) are so similar.
If a dog shows any symptoms of an upper-respiratory infection (including coughing, sneezing, eye or nasal discharge), they will be immediately quarantined in a space with a separate air handling system from the rest of our pups until such time that their parents can pick them up.  If their parent is out of town, arrangements will be made with a qualified veterinary facility to board the dog in quarantine until their parent returns.  As is our policy today, dogs who have general upper-respiratory infections will not be allowed to return until their symptoms have resolved and they have been cleared by a vet.  If the dog had Canine Flu, they will not be able to return for 4 weeks after diagnosis.

When is it time to stay home?

If your dog is feeling under the weather or showing any symptoms described above, please consult your vet and keep them at home.  Please let Smart Dog know if your dog isn’t feeling well.

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