Canine Influenza is a relatively new viral disease with symptoms similar to those found in humans. The symptoms of Canine Influenza will appear 2-4 days after exposure and usually last up to five days after exposure. Symptoms include: coughing, sneezing, lethargy, fever, runny eyes, and runny nose. Treatment of the virus is symptomatic with supportive care, as in humans. Two strains of the virus exist, however there is currently only a preventative vaccine for the older strain. Several states have confirmed cases of CIV in their animal hospitals, including North Carolina. Cities as close as Greensboro have reported at least one case of infection. Pets who have spent time in animal shelters, breeding, grooming, or boarding facilities, attended canine social events, as well as those living in apartment complexes and housing developments are at risk for contracting canine influenza as it is highly contagious. The virus is easily transmitted from dog to dog, and it can live on objects outside of the body such as toys, clothing, and dog bowls. These items must be cleaned with disinfectant before they may be used again. If exposure is suspected, your pet needs to be kept away from other animals, including cats and other household pets because the infected animal may be contagious for up to fourteen days. The fatality rate of canine influenza is relatively low, however if it is left untreated the virus may eventually develop into a respiratory infection such as pneumonia.
If you suspect your dog has Canine Influenza, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian so that the animal's symptoms may be assessed. Dr. Cates or Dr. Madarasz will evaluate your pet's symptoms and determine whether your animal should be treated for Canine Influenza. Infection of CIV may be confirmed only by sending a sample to a lab. Upon bringing your dog to Westbrook Veterinary Hospital, we ask that you first contact a staff member to inform us of your arrival, and leave your pet inside of your vehicle until we can safely bring your dog into the hospital. Unless your pet is extremely ill, we may send your pet home with prescribed medications in order to minimize spreading the virus to other uninfected animals within the hospital.