Dog Flu Outbreak

 

From Dr. Deborah Dennis

 

HI BIRGIT
I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO PUT SOME INFO ABOUT THE NEW DOG FLU ON THE WEBSITE. I ATTENDED A WEBINAR YESTERDAY PRESENTED BY PEOPLE FROM THE LABS DOING THE TESTING AND RESEARCHING THE OUTBREAK IN THE CHICAGO AREA. REPORTS RANGE FROM 200 POSITIVELY TESTED DOGS TO 1000 SICK DOGS IN THAT AREA. SOME CHICAGO VET HOSPITALS AND BOARDING FACILITIES HAVE HAD TO CLOSE THEIR DOORS FOR UP TO 2 WEEKS
THE NEW VIRUS IS A TYPE A INFLUENZA H3N2, AS DETERMINED BY CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GENETIC MATERIAL IN THE VIRUS ITSELF.UP UNTIL NOW THIS VIRUS WAS NOT PRESENT IN THE US BUT HAS BEEN A PROBLEM IN KOREA AND CHINA SINCE 2006. IT IS LIKELY A MUTATION FROM AN AVIAN (BIRD) FLU AND IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE FIRST MUTATED TO BE ABLE TO INFECT DOGS AT SLAUGHTER FACILITIES IN ASIA. (YES, THEY EAT DOGS THERE). THE OTHER FLU VIRUS, H3N8, WAS SEEN IN FLORIDA, MUTATED FROM A HORSE FLU AND A VACCINE FOR DOGS IS AVAILABLE FOR THIS ONE, (CANINE INFLUENZA).
OFFICIALLY THERE IS NO TEST OR VACCINE FOR THIS HOWEVER, EARLY IN THE INFECTION MANY INFECTED DOGS WILL BE POSITIVE ON THE TYPE A INFLUENZA PCR TEST (FOR PEOPLE). THEY MAY ALSO BE POSITIVE FOR THE CIV TEST (FOR THE OLDER FLU) BUT A NEGATIVE ON EITHER DOES NOT MEAN THEY DO NOT HAVE THE DISEASE. THE ONLY WAY TO DISTINGUISH THE NEW VIRUS FROM THE OLD VIRUS IS BY GENETIC TESTING. THIS WILL NOT BE DONE ON ANY MORE INDIVIDUAL DOGS. TESTING POSITIVE ON ANY FLU TEST IN AN AREA OF EXPOSURE TO THE NEW FLU MEANS IT’S THE NEW FLU.
THE INCUBATION TIME (TIME FROM EXPOSURE TO VIRUS UNTIL SYMPTOMS DEVELOP) IS 2-4 DAYS
INFECTED DOGS SHED THE MOST VIRUS BEFORE THEY ARE ILL
SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: HIGH FEVER (103-106), COUGHING, WHEEZING, HIGH HEART RATE, CLEAR NASAL DISCHARGE AND LETHARGY. THE VIRUS COMES ON VERY QUICKLY.
AS SECONDARY BACTERIAL INFECTIONS SET IN THERE IS THICK MUCUS NASAL DISCHARGE, WHEEZING AND RAPID DECLINE IN CONDITION. PNEUMONIA IS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH.
BECAUSE THIS IS A NEW VIRUS THE DOG POPULATION IS ALL AT RISK (NO PREVIOUS ANTIBODIES ANYWHERE)
ANY DOG EXPOSED IS CONSIDERED INFECTED ALTHOUGH UP TO 20% OF THE EXPOSED DOGS WILL NOT APPEAR ILL. THEY WILL SHED THE VIRUS AND INFECT OTHER DOGS.
THE VIRUS IS PRESENT IN SECRETIONS/BODILY FLUIDS AND IS SPREAD BY ASPIRATION OF DROPLETS (BREATHING IN TINY DROPS OF FLUID) FROM COUGHING DOGS OR CONTACT WITH OBJECTS THAT HAVE SECRETIONS ON THEM.
THE VIRUS IS NOT DIFFICULT TO KILL WITH DISINFECTANT. ANYTHING THAT KILLS PARVO WILL WORK ON FLU. WITHOUT DISINFECTION THE VIRUS CAN LIVE ON SOFT SURFACES FOR 24 HOURS (TOWELS AND CLOTHING) AND HARD SURFACES FOR 48 HOURS (GROOMING TABLES, COMBS, SHOES). THESE ITEMS ARE CALLED FOMITES AND ARE OFTEN THE CAUSE OF THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS RATHER THAN THE DOGS
THEMSELVES.
CATS CAN GET SYMPTOMS IF INFECTED BUT SO FAR NO PEOPLE HAVE BECOME ILL.
TREATMENT IS SUPPORTIVE CARE AND PREVENTION OF SECONDARY BACTERIAL INFECTIONS. MILD CASES SHOULD BE TREATED AS OUTPATIENTS. UNFORTUNATELY THE SERIOUSLY ILL PATIENTS WILL NEED XRAYS, OXYGEN, IV FLUIDS AND INJECTABLE ANTIBIOTICS; ALL IN STRICT ISOLATION.
INTERESTINGLY NONE OF THE POSITIVE DOGS IN THE CHICAGO AREA HAVE BEEN DOGS PREVIOUSLY VACCINATED FOR THE OLD FLU. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE VACCINE IS PROTECTIVE BUT IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET SOME CROSS PROTECTION. FOR THIS REASON THERE IS NOW A SCRAMBLE TO GET THE VACCINE.
IN MY PRACTICE WE ARE RECOMMENDING DOG OWNERS AVOID CONTACT WITH OTHER DOGS, AVOID DOG PARKS, DOG SHOWS, COMPETITIONS, ETC
IF IT COMES TO OUR AREA WE WILL PROBABLY CLOSE OUR BOARDING KENNEL.
I RECOMMEND SHOW DOGS (AND THEIR OTHER FAMILY DOGS) GET THE OLD FLU VACCINE AS IT MAY GIVE SOME PROTECTION. THE VACCINE IS 2 DOSES GIVEN 2-4 WEEKS APART AND IS MOST EFFECTIVE AT 2 WEEKS AFTER THE SECOND DOSE. DO NOT SHARE TOWELS, WATER BOTTLES, BRUSHES, ETC WITH OTHERS. AVOID CONTACT WITH OTHER DOGS OR DOG FACILITIES. DISINFECT ANYTHING THAT CONTACTS MULTIPLE DOGS. RESCUES AND SHELTER ADOPTIONS SHOULD BE VERY CAREFULLY SCREENED. OFTEN THESE DOGS HAVE MINIMAL VETERINARY ATTENTION AND ARE TRANSPORTED GREAT DISTANCES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I THINK A WEEK OF QUARANTINE WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT IDEA AND MONITOR THE TEMPERATURE DAILY.

I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED AS MORE DEVELOPS