Everyone has heard about the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza in some show dogs in Texas and many pet owners are worried about their dog’s health. This virus is rare with sporadic outbreaks and is spread through respiratory drainage (coughing, sneezing, nasal drainage) through aerosol, direct transmission, or on objects such as toys, bedding, and other similar shared objects. The virus only survives for less than 1 week in the environment and is easily killed with bleach.
There is a 2-5 day incubation period after exposure and clinical signs appear 5-7 days after infection and last for up to 1 week. Less than 10% of dogs require hospitalization from their clinical signs and the majority of cases require supportive care and isolation.
Control of the virus relies on reducing the spread between dogs. The most effective way to do this is to isolate your dog from dogs that are in the high risk category. Dogs in the high risk category are dogs that have been in the affected area of the country in the last 7-10 days and have been to any activity where dogs co-mingle (boarding, dog parks, dog sports). We recommend vaccinating only for dogs that are in contact with affected facililties or affected dogs. Overall, this is a uncommon disease with sporadic outbreaks. Currently, there are no local cases in our area and we do not recommend the vaccine for dogs unless they are going to affected areas, or coming in contact with dogs from the affected areas.