In recent weeks, there has been an increased surge of coughing dogs coming into our clinic. We had been free of suspected flu cases for a number of months, here, at Medical District Veterinary Clinic, but three weeks ago, we had one confirmed case followed immediately by multiple other subsequent cases that were highly suspicious of the canine flu.
All of these dogs have had a common history of frequenting day care, boarding facilities, or dog parks. We are still continuing to recommend using caution in these areas to help protect your dog. Additionally, we would like to remind our clients that there is an available vaccine against the H3N2 strain of Canine influenza. It requires two initial doses (two to four weeks apart) and then boostered on a yearly basis.
Most cases have started with either mild coughing or sneezing, which eventually has progressed to a loud, honking cough. Some pets have a decreased appetite, depression, and fever. If your pet is showing any of these signs please have your pet examined as soon as possible—time is of the essence to prevent these cases from progressing to life-threatening pneumonia.
Dogs at the highest risk of exposure include those that socialize with other dogs by attending day care, boarding or grooming, dog parks, and those that live in high density enclosed areas such as high rise buildings. Dogs with high risk of exposure should be vaccinated.
We also recommend owners decrease the risks of exposure by trying to avoid these high-risk areas as much as possible. Canine Influenza Virus can survive 48 hours on hard surfaces and 24 hours on clothing, thus it is very important to also be cautious in elevators, hallways, and places where dogs congregate, like dog relief stations or community dog bowls.
Please call the Medical District Veterinary Clinic at (312) 226-2588 with any questions and to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Drew Sullivan, DVM
Medical District Veterinary Clinic