We never want to panic anyone, but we do believe in being prepared!
A new strain of canine influenza has been making dogs sick in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Most dogs are recovering, but six deaths have been reported.
There have been no cases reported in Pennsylvania, but there is the chance it will continue to spread. We all know that dogs are social animals. It is always possible that an unsuspecting owner may transport a dog that has been exposed to the virus into a previously uninfected region.
Just like humans with the flu, those who are in good overall health will be able to recover from the flu more quickly. There are several approaches to improving your dog’s health and ability to avoid (or at least recover quickly from) the flu.
A vaccine for canine influenza came on the market in 2009. If your dog is not already vaccinated, please discuss with your veterinarian if you should have your pet get the canine influenza vaccine.
Testing by Cornell University confirmed that the current outbreak of canine influenza is not the same strain previously seen in the United States, which is the one covered by the vaccine. If you do choose the vaccine, remember that it is given in a series of two vaccine shots, spread two to four weeks apart, followed by annual boosters.
A quality diet will set your dog up with a stronger immune system. When choosing a kibble diet, look for foods that are free of dyes, poor quality proteins, and fillers. At the Lodge, we also like frozen raw diets for our dogs. These can be a complete diet, or used in addition to a kibble diet. We carry frozen raw diets from Bravo, Northwest Natural, Vital Essentials, and Nature’s Logic.
“Raw diets simulate the menu that nature intended carnivores to eat. When a carnivore eats an herbivore such as a rabbit, the carnivore eats some meat, some bone, some organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc.), and some green vegetation contained in the herbivore’s digestive tract. That’s nature’s perfect meal – the meal raw diets replicate.”
-Bravo Raw Diet Beginnings
Herbal supplements such as Support Immunity or Nutrients by Herbsmith can continue to bolster your dog’s overall health – and their immune system specifically. I have used the Support Immunity tablets with my own dogs during our busy boarding season each year. When a doggie cold goes around, my dogs rarely show symptoms.
“The individual herbs in Herbsmith Support Immunity have been shown to have numerous immune-supporting effects. By maintaining the animal’s overall level of immunity, these herbs assist the body’s innate ability to keep itself healthy.”
There is no guarantee that adding supplements or changing your dog’s diet will keep him from getting the flu, but we certainly owe it to our dogs to do everything we can to make them healthy. Perhaps these efforts will lessen the severity or the duration of the symptoms – should your dog catch a cold or the flu.
The tricky part about Canine Influenza and several other canine respiratory illnesses is the ability to be spread to others before symptoms appear.
Did you know that symptoms for a mild case of the flu mimic those of a common cold? In more severe cases, pneumonia may develop. Some dogs can become infected and stay completely asymptomatic. If your dog develops a cough, nasal discharge and/or a fever, please keep your four-legged friend isolated from other dogs and contact your veterinarian.
At Cold Nose Lodge, we clean and sanitize the playrooms, boarding suites and play yards daily. We have a five-zone HVAC system and two high-volume ionic air purifiers. When we know there is a potential illness in the region, we add additional cleaning products into rotation. We do this so that if any bug is starting to become resistant to one product, we know another will get it!
If we see any dogs showing symptoms, we will take them out of the playgroup and ask their owner to pick them up. We will post a notice at the front desk if/when the flu has been diagnosed in Pennsylvania to alert our clients.
For more in-depth information on canine influenza, please read: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx