You’ve probably heard about the recent cases of dog flu that have occurred in New York City and even as close as Paramus. It is scary to think that one of our pets could come down with this harmful, and potentially deadly, virus.
What is the flu?
Influenza is a virus that is relatively new to dogs, having crossed over from horses within the last several years. There are two strains of influenza, H3N8, and the more recent strain H3N2. Typically influenza is contracted by dogs through boarding or grooming facilities, or those that go to dog parks. Both strains can cause symptoms such as coughing, fever, lethargy, and nasal discharge.
What can you do to prevent your dog from getting the flu?
The influenza virus is spread through the air or through direct contact with a contaminated pet or object. If you come into contact with a contaminated pet or object when not with your own pet, it is still possible to bring it home to your pet! So, how do you protect your pet from something that can be spread so easily??
The best way to prevent transmission of the disease is to have your dog vaccinated. VCMC now carries a flu vaccine that protects against both strains of the flu virus. If you think your pet has already been vaccinated with the flu vaccine, please give us a call to make sure they have been vaccinated with the most current vaccine available which includes the newest strain.
Even with the vaccine, it is still a good idea to be cautious about who your pet interacts with and where. Boarding and daycare facilities usually have strict rules about vaccine requirements. However, check with the facility you use to ensure they use proper cleaning protocols and ask how they handle a client dropping off a sick pet or what happens when a pet becomes sick while at their facility. Dog parks are great and can be loads of fun for your furry friend (and you!), but most are open to the public. This means you have no way of knowing if that new friend your pet made is up to date on their vaccines or if they’re sneezing because of allergies or the flu.
For more information about the risks of influenza or to schedule an appointment to get the flu vaccine, give us a call at 973-887-0522 or click here to schedule online.