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Canine Flu-Watch 2018

This year,
humans aren’t the only ones at risk from the misery of influenza. The newest
strain of Canine Influenza Virus, strain H3N2, is causing serious problems for
our colleagues and fellow pet parents in other parts of the country. As of this
writing, the more serious outbreaks are being reported in a handful of states,
including, but not limited to, Pennsylvania, Montana, Missouri, Washington, and California.
One animal hospital in the San

area has seen over 50 cases since the beginning of 2018.

H3N2 was
first identified in 2015 after an outbreak in Chicago. This particular strain was
originally an avian virus which mutated and began to affect dogs. While several
cats have been infected, their risk for falling ill is very low. At this time,
it is believed humans are NOT at risk from contracting the flu from their pets.
Our hospital treated roughly a half-dozen cases last year, and we have yet to
see any for 2018.  That said, the country is experiencing record cold
temperatures, and South Florida is expected to
enjoy a robust tourist season as our neighbors to the north and west seek
refuge from the bitter cold. It stands to reason that many travellers will
bring their dogs - and potentially the flu - along with them.

signs of H3N2 include coughing, sneezing, lethargy, inappetence, fever and
lethargy. Should you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, please see your
veterinarian as soon as possible. There is a vaccine available to prevent H3N2.
Our two dachshunds received the first doses to arrive at the hospital. The
vaccine is safe and effective, and we are recommending it for any dogs who
frequent grooming salons, kennels, dog parks, dog shows, training facilities,
doggie day care centers, or any spaces where multiple dogs are present.
Additionally, we are advising owners of brachycephalic  or “smush-faced”
breeds to consider vaccinating. H3N2 becomes pneumonia in over 95% of cases,
and has a 10% mortality rate. Sickened pets may need to be hospitalized for
extended periods of time, leading to costly and unexpected veterinary bills.
Now is therefore a good time to talk to your pet’s veterinarian, and determine
if the vaccine is recommended for your individual pet. 

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