While humans were worrying about COVID-19, a large Canine Influenza outbreak was reported in Los Angeles County, adding to the list of concerns for pet owners.
What is Canine Influenza?
Canine influenza or the dog flu is caused by an Influenza virus that affects dogs and is an infectious respiratory disease. This is similar to viral strains that cause influenza in human beings. Even though canine influenza does not affect humans, they can be carriers. It can spread to other dogs through human beings.
Dr. Joel Conn Pismo Beach Veterinary Clinic has reported that many people have been contacting the clinic concerned about the dog flu and their pet’s health.
According to Dr. Conn, the last major outbreak in the area was in 2016-2017. There have been similar large outbreaks of the disease in LA County before.
LA Animal Services announced that many dogs in the West Valley Animal Shelter in Chatsworth have tested positive for canine influenza.
The exact number of dogs that were affected was not disclosed. But, according to the public information director of LA Animal Services, Sibal-von Debschitz, all the dogs affected are fully or partially vaccinated for canine influenza.
Controlling the spread
To control the spread of canine influenza, the West Valley Animal Shelter plans to take measures like banning members of the public from entering the quarantined kennel area. Quarantining all dogs at the shelter and following orders from the Department of Public Health.
Between July and October of this year, the LA County Public Health reported seven deaths and approximately 800 cases, confirmed and suspected of the dog flu affecting dogs in the county.
Dr. Conn urges dog owners not to panic about the spread, especially if they don’t let their dogs interact with other dogs. But, if you need to be cautious, your dog spends a lot of time with other dogs.
Dogs having nose-to-nose interactions with other dogs regularly, which can include dogs traveling a lot, going to dog parks, dog daycare, or dogs in kennels, are more at risk. There have also been cases connected to dogs who went to veterinary clinics and the groomers.
According to Dr. Conn, most dogs affected by canine influenza develop mild symptoms and can recover in a couple of weeks. Only in rare cases does it cause death.
For dogs that may be at risk, pet owners can get a vaccine for the dog flu.
Dr. Conn advises pet owners to stay on alert for symptoms, and if you suspect your dog may have the virus contact the vet clinic for guidance.
Some of the possible warning signs include:
2. Reduced appetite
3. Runny nose
4. Eye discharge
But, not all dogs show symptoms of the infection.
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