Canine Influenza...Symptoms...New Strain spreading

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Yesterday (7/15/2015) we received an email alert from our (24hr-emergency) vet regarding the spread of a new strain of Canine Influenza to our area (Western North Carolina). Even if your dog is already vaccinated against old strain of canine influenza, and you go to dog parks / pet stores / training classes, watch carefully for symptoms (see below).

Following is snipped from the email alert:

"... we wanted to pass along what we know about this outbreak and what you should know about how to safeguard your pets from it.

"The first strain of Canine Influenza called H3N8, was discovered in 2004 and all 50 states have had confirmed cases. The confirmed case in Asheville was the newest strain H3N2, first confirmed in Chicago in March of this year has proven to be highly contagious. Both strains affect canines, while this new strain poses a potential threat to felines as well. The signs you should look out for are;

Discharge from the nose or eyes
Loss of appetite
In some severe cases the flu can lead to pneumonia

"By keeping pets at home, you can help minimize the risk of your pet contracting this illness and spreading it further into our region. If you feel your pet has been exposed to the Canine Influenza or is showing the symptoms we listed above, we recommend you bring your pet to be evaluated ... Upon arrival, we ask that you contact us from your car so we can give you instructions on how to bring your pet into the hospital. This will keep the risk of spreading infection to other patients to a minimum.

"If your pet has an exposure risk, we would encourage you to ... set up an appointment for your pet to receive the Canine Influenza vaccine. While the vaccine has not been tested on the new strain, it may lessen the signs your pet may experience if they were to contract the flu. ...."

p.s. -- If you bring your pets along on vacation in your car, make sure that you also bring pet records! Rules vary by state. I just learned that in NC, you must have original (not faxed or copies) in order to board them at a kennel. Often vets do not charge for printing out records on letterhead, unlike the special forms you have to have when flying. Many kennels require that no vaccinations should be given in the week prior to boarding them.

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