Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canine Influenza

What is canine influenza?
Canine influenza is a newly emerging infectious disease caused by a "flu" virus. In dogs, a highly contagious strain of the influenza A virus known as H3N8 is able to cause respiratory illness. Other strains of the influenza A virus are responsible for causing infections in birds, horses, pigs, and people.
Canine influenza virus only affects dogs.

How contagious is canine influenza?
Just like the human "flu" canine influenza is highly contagious. In fact, unless a dog has already had the illness and recovered, virtually every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. This is because the virus is relatively new, and dogs have no natural immunity to it. While 100% of dogs are susceptible to influenza infection, and 80% of infected dogs will show signs of the infection. Dogs that do not show signs of the disease can still spread the virus to other dogs.

What are the signs of canine influenza?

The most common sign of canine influenza is a persistent cough. Some dogs have a dry cough similar to that seen in dogs with kennel cough-a respiratory condition that is caused by any of a number of other viruses and bacteria. It's this similarity to kennel cough that makes it hard for your veterinarian to diagnose which illness your dog has.

About 80% of dogs who show signs of influenza will have mild disease. Signs in this case include a low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and a cough that can last for up to a month.
How serious is canine influenza?

Canine influenza is usually mild but can become quite serious in some dogs. in about 20% of the cases, more severe signs will occur, such as a high fever (104 to 106) and pneumonia. A small number of dogs infected with the virus have died from complications associated with the disease.

How is canine influenza infection diagnosed?

It's hard to diagnose canine influenza. Many times it can be confused with kennel cough because the signs are very similar. Often canine influenza is not suspected until the illness becomes unusually severe or lasts an unusually long time. Your veterinarian may collect blood or nasal swabs samples; however, these laboratory tests may not confirm canine influenza infection because the samples must be taken at the appropriate time in the course of your dog's illness. If your dog has a history of being exposed to other dogs with canine influenza, it is reasonable to suspect that your dog has something more than the ordinary cough.

How is Canine Influenza spread?

Canine influenza spreads the same way that human flu spreads-through direct contact (kissing, licking, nuzzling); through the air (coughing or sneezing); and via contaminated surfaces (such as when a person picks up the virus on their hands or clothing, then touches or pets a dog). Spread can also occur if that same person touches and contaminates another surface-a doorknob, for example.

How can I protect my dog from canine influenza?

Protection starts by keeping your dog in good general health. A well-nourished, well rested, and well-cared-for pet will have a stronger immune system to help fight off infection. When you most board your pet, make sure the facility is clean, well-maintained, and that there is an influenza outbreak management plan in place.

Recently, a new canine influenza vaccine-the first of its kind-was approved for use in the US. Canine influenza vaccine, H3n8 from Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has need clinically proven to significantly reduce the severity of influenza and the length of time that a dog is sick. The initial vaccination requires 2 doses, 2-4weeks apart, followed by annual revaccination. If your dog is presently being vaccinated for kennel cough (Bordetella), it is a likely candidate for canine Influenza Vaccine, H3N8.

Your veterinarian can advise you whether this new influenza vaccine should be added to your dog's vaccination schedule.

*all information was provided by:
Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Designer Dogs

"Properly trained, a man can dog's best friend"
"I may be small, but there are greater things to fight for!"

"I always wear my sweater back-to-front; it is so much
more flattering."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can be found in most animals, including livestock (cattle, pigs, and sheep) and wildlife (deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rats and other rodents). The bacteria are passed via the urine into water sources, where they reside and reproduce.

Is it a problem where I Live?

Leptospirosis is prevalent in rural, suburban and urbanized areas. The bacteria can be present in any stagnant surface water, moist soil and recreational water sources such as ponds and lakes. Additionally, natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes present an increased risk of exposure to the disease.

Can my Dog get Leptospirosis?

Your dog can become infected with leptospirosis by drinking, swimming in or walking through contaminated water. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through a cut in the skin or through mucous membranes (such as eyes, nose, or mouth).

Leptospirosis is a contagious disease and can be transmitted dog to dog. In urban areas, infected dogs can transmit the disease to other-low-risk dogs.

Exposure risk increases during the summer and early fall month, and other periods of high rainfall.

Can Cats Catch this Disease?

Although cats are potentially at risk for leptospirosis, they appear to have natural resistance. For this reason, cats are not vaccinated against leptospirosis.

Can People Catch Leptospirosis?

YES! The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 200 human cases of leptospirosis a year are identified in the United States.

While the disease is rarely fatal in humans, it can cause severe illness.

You may reduce disease risk by complying with the following preventive measures:

  1. Vaccinate your dog and livestock.

  2. Avoid water that might be contaminated with the bacteria, especially water that is stagnant.

  3. Practice good sanitation, including washing your hands and your children's hands-especially when handling anything that might have your dog's urine on it.

  4. If your occupation or lifestyle involves routine exposure to wildlife or standing water, wear protective clothing to avoid exposure.

What are the Signs of Leptospirosis?

Look for the following signs that could indicate your dog has been infected with leptospirosis:

Flu-like symptoms are most common, including:

  • Fever

  • loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Dehydration

  • Weakness

  • Depression

  • Lethargy

  • Jaundice, marked by a yellow cast in the gums of the mouth and whites of the eyes.

  • In the most severe cases, the disease can lead to kidney failure or liver failure and may be fatal.

How can I protect My Dog from Leptospirosis?

Remember...Protection = Prevention!!!

To protect your dog from this potentially fatal disease, vaccination is key. By vaccinating your dog before exposure to the disease, you may avoid the emotional and financial trauma of dealing with this disease.

Vaccines are affordable, convenient and safe. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccine is best and how to incorporate it into your dog's routine vaccination program.

Do Vaccines prevent the most common Canine Leptospira?

The most complete leptospirosis protection is with vaccines containing the four most common strains of leptospira bacteria diagnosed today.

Cornell University recently reported that the vast majority of leptospirosis cases they diagnosed in dogs were caused by two strains.

Vaccination for leptospirosis is routinely administered to dogs in combination with other common canine vaccines.

Your veterinarian will initially recommend a two-shot series. Re vaccination frequency will be based on your dog's risk of exposure.