News & Updates
Local Respiratory Virus Outbreak
Recently, news and social media have brought attention to an “outbreak” of a respiratory virus in our area. Beginning in the last week in April 2016, three dogs originating from a kennel in Windsor were treated for severe respiratory signs (pneumonia, seen as coughing, discharge from the eyes & nose, a high fever, and nosebleed). While canine flu was originally considered as a possibility, later testing showed that the dogs did NOT have any variant of canine flu. They were infected with Pneumovirus and Streptococcus equi (for which there is no vaccine). One dog also had Bordetella (also known as kennel cough, for which there is a vaccine).
Since the original three dogs were treated, surveillance for dogs with similar clinical signs has been rigorous. Only one additional dog was found to have the same illness in the following week. No other kennels or dogs in the general population appear to have any clinical signs. None of these dogs were treated at Bolton Vet. While we are continuing to be especially careful regarding dogs who develop any signs of a respiratory infection, it does not seem like the “outbreak” is ongoing.
Recent news stories have highlighted the spread of Canine Influenza H3N2 strain. This is a strain that was first reported in the Chicago area, and subsequently spread to other states. More recently, this virus was suspected to be present in Washington state. As of the time this update was written, a case has not been reported in Connecticut, and a very limited number of cases were reported in some neighboring states.
The previously established canine flu vaccine is not believed to be effective against the H3N2 flu strain. Merck and Zoetis have each developed a new canine flu vaccine with the goal of protecting against the H3N2 strain, however, the new vaccines have only been granted a conditional license (meaning that studies on the safety and efficacy of this vaccine are still ongoing).
Here are our recommendations for keeping your dogs safe:
- Vaccination for the “old” flu strain is not thought to be effective against the H3N2 flu strain, and the new H3N2 vaccines are still undergoing safety testing. For this reason, we are not promoting flu vaccination at this time. We do, however, have the new H3N2 vaccine in stock for those who would like to vaccinate their pets.
- Avoid situations where your dog may be exposed to dogs of unknown health status (for example, dog parks). A boarding kennel or “doggie day care” that requires all animals be in good health in order to attend is expected to be a safe venue.
- Avoid traveling inter-state with your dog if possible, particularly in the Midwest. If you must travel with your dog, avoid interacting with other dogs on your trip, and/or consider vaccination with the new H3N2 vaccine.
- If you work or volunteer at an animal shelter, kennel, grooming shop, pet store or other venue that involves meeting community dogs, be sure to shower and launder your clothing before interacting with your own pets when you get home.
- Monitor your dog for signs of illness, and call your veterinarian if you are concerned. Signs to watch for include coughing, sneezing, fever, and discharge from the nose or eyes.
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