Recent news reports of several dogs falling ill to canine influenza after attending dog shows in Georgia and Florida have got pet parents fretting about how to keep their furry family members safe. Here is what you need to know to understand the respiratory illness and protect your pet.

Symptoms and Duration

The H3N2 strain of canine influenza is highly contagious.  Dogs show signs of coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, and fever (temperature over 102.5º).  Most dogs recover from the illness but may cough for three weeks or more.  Some dogs may develop pneumonia and become seriously ill. 

Who is at risk?

Your dog is most at risk when being near other dogs – this includes dog parks, pet stores and grooming areas, coming nose to nose on a leashes walk in the neighborhood.

How to protect your pet

The best protection is vaccination because you don’t know when your dog will be exposed to the canine influenza virus. Initial vaccination requires two doses, separated by a two week interval. After the vaccination series, your dog may still get slightly sick if he/she contracts the virus from a sick dog, but the signs will be much less severe. At this time, the vaccination should be given annually. Our AAHA-accredited animal hospital has carries the vaccine and is open from 8:30am to 3:00pm seven days a week at 3809 N Armenia Avenue. Appointments highly recommended but walk-ins are accepted. Call 813-870-3309 for more information.

What to do if your pet gets sick

If you think your dog may be showing signs of canine influenza, please contact our animal hospital or your veterinarian.  When you arrive at the facility, protect the other dogs there by not bringing your dog directly into the lobby; instead, alert the front desk staff and ask for instruction.

 

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