Dog Flu Update


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Various labs track canine influenza virus, and IDEXX make their numbers public.  Here’s the latest:

The outbreak in New York has increased rapidly by the end of May, and continues into June 24, with 69 positive cases from June 1st through the 24th. The index case was detected April 30th; total of 134 cases (including one case in New Jersey from 05/31/2018) but without the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and recent Pennsylvania cases. Meanwhile, the California and Nevada outbreaks have lost their sizzle, but dog flu is still there.

Not indicated by the IDEXX report, another lab identified dog flu in Arkansas.

These numbers may not seem like a lot – but it’s important to understand that most clients do not agree to testing to confirm flu. Of course, there’s a cost to this and many veterinarians are often confident of what they’re dealing with. So, there’s FAR more flu than numbers reported. How much more? No one knows for certain.

As with human flu, for the most part there’s no real care involved because flu runs it’s course. However, being a respiratory virus, the deep cough may keep people up at night (as most dogs share our bedrooms, if not our beds). What’s more, who likes to see their dog really sick? This isn’t a 24-hour virus, dogs are typically sick for weeks. A percent of these dogs (we don’t know how many) do require hospitalization for supportive care, and some develop pneumonia. And some of those will succumb to dog flu.

According to Dr, Melissa Yates, interim State Veterinarian Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, in a letter from the Commission on June 21, “The most important step is to vaccinate against the canine influenza virus.” In fact, vaccination is the only way to avoid significant symptoms from dog flu. While the flu may not be in your area today, what about tomorrow? There’s no way to predict where the dog flu will hit next.

June 20 (2018) was a national howliday, National Dog Flu Day.  That means – in some places veterinarians were offering the dog flu vaccine at a lower cost, and some still are.  Contact your veterinarian, or check out this dog flu site.