As you may have been hearing in the news, there is a local outbreak of the canine influenza virus, also known as the canine flu. Some hospitals in Columbus have diagnosed dozens of patients.
Symptoms of the flu include coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy, lack of appetite, and or fever and fatal pneumonia. It has been suggested that 80% of dogs exposed to the virus will develop an infection.
Because this virus is highly contagious, clinics, grooming and boarding facilities that have come across the virus in their facility had to be shut down for weeks to disinfect.
If you believe your dog may have been exposed or showing symptoms, please call our clinic. We have a protocol in place to protect our patients. If your dog is showing any signs of the canine flu and you are coming to the clinic for an appointment, please call us from your car. We may examine your dog in the car to minimize spread of this infectious virus.
To prevent infection, we recommend the following:
- There is a vaccine that covers both strains of canine influenza viruses, H3N2 and H3N8. The protocol is that dogs will need an initial shot, then a booster in 3 to 4 weeks to be complete. After the initial two shot series, a yearly booster is necessary.
- To further protect dogs that have not been vaccinated, I would minimize exposure to other unvaccinated dogs at the dog parks or on walks.
Please call if you have any questions we can be of further help.