DOG FLU cases flare up across Philadelphia and elsewhere, causing concern for veterinarians
Flash of the dog the flu impressed some of America’s best friends this winter.
Veterinarians across America including Philadelphia, North Texas, California and Florida are warning of a brutal canine flu season.
In some cases, dog flu can be severe, causing pneumonia and even death in pets. About every tenth case ends in death. It is spread from animal to animal by barking, sneezing and coughing through the air.
Some dog kennels and daycares have temporarily closed or greatly increased cleaning protocols in response, and veterinarians are advising pet owners to get a canine flu vaccine.
Humans are generally thought to be immune from infection, and no cases of dog flu have ever been reported. There is always the possibility that an animal virus can spread to humans, experts say society is very unprepared for this.
Outbreaks of canine flu have hit Philadelphia, Texas and California, among other parts of America. Vets are urging dogs to be vaccinated to protect them from the virus. Pictured: Dogs play in a park amid the flash in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Researchers from Harvard and New York universities (file photo) are also among the countries most at risk of zoonosis outbreaks with pandemic potential because they are one of the world’s largest importers of live animals.
Zoonotic diseases are particularly dangerous for humans with viruses that can infect other mammals, such as pigs, because their cells have very similar receptors to human cells.
Indiana, Ohio, New York and several other states cases have also been reported this winter.
lost dogs in texas Twitter account for missing pets, reported Thursday: “We don’t usually release medical information, but dog flu is on the rise in Texas. If you take your dog to dog parks or socialize with other dogs, ask your vet about a flu shot.
“Vet trying to track all cases of canine flu.”
There are limited treatment options once a dog is infected, but there is a preventative vaccine they can get from their vet.
But vaccine supplies are tight, and many clinics are reporting shortages and long waiting lists due to ongoing supply chain problems linked to the pandemic and the effects of the lockdown.
Valley Animal Center in Fresno, California, told 6ABC that shortages arising from supply chain difficulties have been sustained at times for three months.
About 100 people are waiting in the hospital now.
Hospital worker Ruben Cantu said: “I don’t want to say it’s unpleasant, but maybe if we have to tell our customers, you know, unfortunately I don’t have this vaccination for you. Because they’re doing it for the love and safety of their pet, and that, I think, is the most important thing in this conversation.”
Symptoms usually match those of kennel cough, a highly contagious bacterial lung infection that is fortunately rarely dangerous. Infection with the virus can cause cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, discharge from the eyes and decreased appetite.
But because the flu is a virus, it’s more difficult to treat than a bacterial infection, which can be treated with antibiotics.
Canine flu can be easily transmitted through droplets released when a dog coughs, sneezes or barks.
The virus can also linger on surfaces your dog has come into contact with.
Stephen Cole, a veterinarian and microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “Canine influenza is much more infectious and contagious than the usual bacterial viruses that we see causing upper respiratory and tract infections in dogs. That’s why it worries me more.”
Dr. Cole added that a common way for the virus to spread is through contact with other dogs in parks, where they often share a water bowl.
Some of the symptoms resemble the human flu virus, and it is also diagnosed in the same way.
Veterinarians will take a swab from the dog’s nose within the first few days after symptoms appear and then perform a laboratory PCR test.
Also, as with flu strains that affect humans, symptoms appear two to three days after infection.
Dogs are also most contagious three to four days after initial infection.
The different strains circulating in the U.S. require different lengths of quarantine because of the difference in how long dogs can shed the virus.
The first virus currently circulating in the US is H3N2, and infected dogs should be quarantined for about three weeks, while seven days is recommended for dogs with H3N8.
About 20 percent of infected dogs show no symptoms, making detection difficult.
But in very severe cases, dogs can develop life-threatening pneumonia
Canine flu is unlikely to pose a threat to humans, even if outbreaks continue.
However, Dr Cole said: “We can’t say no for sure, but this has never been reported before and is considered a very, very low risk.”