There is a dangerous, contagious virus invading the Louisville area known as Canine Influenza. Commonly called “Canine Flu” or “Dog Flu”, it has shut down many boarding facilities and shelters across the country including some in our own city of Louisville. There is a vaccine for this virus that covers both strands of canine flu that are currently a threat to our canine companions.
There are a series of two inoculations which are given 2 weeks apart to ensure a proper immunity is established for the best possible protection from the Canine Influenza Virus. Transmission of the virus can occur from a sneeze as far as 20 feet away. Highest transmission possibilities are seen in places such as kennels, groomers, daycare facilities, dog parks and shelters. The transmission of this vicious virus can also occur through objects such as cages, crates, food or water bowls, as well as toys, collars, and leashes. Humans can also spread the virus on our clothes and hands. Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) can live on and infect surfaces for 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours. This means even if your dog never leaves the house, that someone or something can bring it to the front door. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, virtually all dogs exposed to CIV become infected. The most common clinical signs in dogs are:
- Cough that persists for 10 to 21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants.
- Soft, moist cough or a dry cough similar to kennel cough (tracheal bronchitis)
- Nasal and/or Ocular (eye) discharge, sneezing, lethargy and anorexia may be seen.
- Many dogs develop a purulent (pus-like) discharge and fever of 104-105 F (Normal: 101.8-102.1)
Dogs that are severely affected will show signs of dehydration and pneumonia like high grade fevers (104-106 F) and increased respiratory rates and difficult breathing.
The good news is most dogs recover from Canine Influenza Virus without issue, but deaths have occurred. Treatment is supportive therapy, good nutrition and husbandry to help dogs have an effective immune response. Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks with proper veterinary medical care.
Proper cleaning and disinfection procedures are critical to reduce risk of transmission of this virus. Here at the Pet Station Country Club we are taking this situation very seriously. In addition to requiring that all dogs entering The Pet Station Country Club have both Canine Influenza Vaccines by August 21, 2017, Owner/General Manager Scott Burnley and I have our team using every possible preventative protocol to aid in the prevention of this contagious virus. Each day our boarding team uses our KaiVac cleaning/recovery system to literally power wash and disinfect each pet room with a chemical that kills canine influenza. The KaiVac ensures no cross contamination from one dog room to the next. All provided bedding is cleaned and disinfected daily as well as all toys, bowls and blankets. Our team members are trained to not allow nose-to-nose contact between pets that are not from the same family when transporting them to and from our play yards, from activities, potty breaks, etc. All team members wash and sanitize their hands between pets and practice aseptic techniques in all aspects of pet care in our facility. Our individual play yards and our dog park are completely sanitized/disenfected at least twice a day.
Twice a week our yards our deep cleaned flushed and disinfected to ensure an even further safeguard of any probability of transmitting any kind of virus or bacteria between dogs. While our feline friends do not have a vaccine available, they can shed and spread CIV as well. Our cat condos, cat play tree and our cat room are individually cleaned and disinfected daily as well as all their belonging, toys and bedding.
Any pet exhibiting symptoms of sneezing, coughing, nasal or ocular discharge as well as fever, vomiting or diarrhea is immediately moved to one of our isolation rooms which has a separate ventilation system to ensure nothing contagious is passed in the air in our population of well pets. All team members have been properly trained to sanitize their clothing, shoes and hands after caring for suspect ill pets. In addition, we keep all ill pets in separate areas for potty breaks to avoid any transmission of a possible illness. We will even transport dogs showing signs of illness to their veterinarian for further treatment. Be assured when your pet is a guest of The Country Club that they are getting the optimum care package of safety and disease prevention protocols. We are proud of our beautiful facility and your pets’ safety is our top priority. We look forward to seeing you and your pet soon.
Woofs, Wiggles and Wags,
Cheri Craft, Boarding Team Lead/Vet Tech