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Canine Influenza

Canine InfluenzaYou may have heard about the outbreak of canine influenza that has been plaguing the Chicago area and has recently been diagnosed in Wisconsin. Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is most likely to affect the following:

  • Dogs in settings where multiple dogs interact and socialize, such as boarding facilities, doggie daycares, shelters, and kennels.
  • Dogs that compete in shows or other events where many dogs are present
  • Dogs that travel

Symptoms of canine influenza are similar to those of Bordetella (kennel cough), but can be more life-threatening. Symptoms include:

  • Cough, which is usually more persistent and severe in dogs with the flu (vs. Bordetella) and may progress to serious pneumonia
  • Fever, and eye or nasal discharge can occur with both illnesses.
  • Lethargy, anorexia, increased respiratory rate (more breaths per minute)

Most infected dogs show only mild symptoms, but can progress to serious illness and require veterinary care. This disease is spread by direct contact (with nasal discharge from infected dogs), through the air (cough, bark, or sneeze), and by contact with contaminated objects (ie dog bowls and clothing).

What you can do:

  • If your dog is coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease, keep your dog away from activities or locations where other dogs could be exposed (boarding, doggie daycare, dog parks, even walks in the neighborhood).
  • Call Packerland Veterinary Center if you notice the following in your dog: coughing, discharge from the nose or eyes, loss of appetite, or lethargy.

There is a vaccination available for canine influenza, and we recommend considering this if your dog is in the high risk category. The vaccine is a series of two injections that are given 2-4 weeks apart. Vaccination dramatically reduces the symptoms of influenza, and usually prevents it completely. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions about this outbreak and how it will affect your dogs.