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Posts Tagged ‘infectious disease’

There has been a lot of talk in the news about how this has been a bad Flu season for people. You may even know a handful of folks who have been knocked out for days due to the illness. But did you know dogs can get the Flu, too? And that people can possibly transmit it to them?

Now that I have your attention, allow me to clarify:

  1. Dogs do not get “people Flu.” Human Influenza is specific to humans and Canine Influenza is specific to dogs.
  2. People do not get “dog Flu.” Unless the virus mutates in a way not yet seen, and you are the unluckiest dog owner in town, you will not catch the Flu from your dog.
  3. People who have been in contact with a dog that is shedding Canine Influenza can carry the virus on their clothing and their skin and become a source of infection to their dog.

Here’s what you need to know:
Without washing, the Canine Influenza virus

  • can live on surfaces for 48 hours
  • can live on clothing for 24 hours
  • can live on skin for 12 hours

You are probably thinking that it is easy to recognize the signs of illness and avoid sick dogs, right?
The typical signs of Canine Flu are:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • fever
  • purulent nasal discharge
  • pneumonia (high fever, increased respiratory rate and effort)

So that should be easy to spot, and you should avoid handling dogs that are clearly sick — but Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian says
you need to know that:

  • Dogs that are infected with Canine Influenza are most infective during the incubation period, when they are shedding the virus, but not showing signs of illness.
  • The incubation period is the 2 to 4 days between the time the dog is exposed to the virus and the time the dog starts showing signs of illness.

So that healthy-looking dog you just nuzzled at PetsLuv Pet Store could be a wellspring of disease. And you could bring that disease back to your dog.

The good news is, the Canine Influenza virus can be killed easily with detergent. Wash your hands (or anywhere the dog had contact) with soap and water; change your clothes and put them in the laundry, before handling your own pet.

For an added level of protection, Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic and schedule your pet to receive a Canine Flu vaccine.

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Dr. Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian and owner of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, attended a lecture on the role of veterinarians in emergencies and natural disaster response.

He learned that the major challenges pets face after a widespread disaster (such as hurricane, flood, tornado) are: lack of adequate food and shelter, lack of access to medical care, the increased rate of infectious diseases, and the exacerbation of existing disease.

Disaster clean-up and recovery efforts can take a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks to effect change, and often take longer. For those people displaced, life may not return to normal for 4 to 6 months, according to Dr. Jenifer Chatfield, an expert on emergency response. What will happen to chronically ill pets during those 4 to 6 months? More on that, later.

In an emergency, veterinarians may volunteer to assist with recovery efforts in their community, or they may work to re-open their medical practice as soon as possible, to provide for pets’ healthcare needs. At the community level, human needs for food, clean drinking water, shelter, and medical care are met first. Then care can be extended to pets. Knowing that a hierarchy of assistance exists will help you make better disaster planning decisions.
Challenges for Pets During Disasters
*Infectious diseases may spread more rapidly.
-Leptospirosis is contracted through contaminated water and displaced wildlife
-Rabies is spread through displaced wildlife, which comes into more frequent contact with homeless pets
-Distemper, Influenza, and Parvovirus spread among pets kept in close quarters, such as at shelters
*Parasites increase in number
-Fleas, gastrointestinal parasites, and heartworms spread more easily when pets do not receive their regular doses of preventative
*Existing, chronic diseases are left untreated and worsen
-Diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney or liver failure, pancreatitis, and more, worsen when drugs and special diets are no longer available to treat them. This can happen when people are trying to get life back on track and pet care may not be given high priority.

Not all disasters can be foreseen, but when you have advance warning, be sure to have a plan in place.

*If you evacuate, where will you go and how soon will you leave?
*If evacuating — whether to a shelter, hotel, or another home — will you be able to bring your pets?

*When preparing supplies, such as food and drinking water, include your pets’ needs in the calculations.
*When severe weather is forecast, find out from your pet’s veterinarian if you can stock up on prescription drugs and diets, to last through several weeks of recovery.
*If evacuating, bring your pet’s flea and heartworm preventatives.
*Be certain that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, or schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to bring all vaccines and preventative treatments current.

More information
Learn about Norfolk’s emergency shelter for pets and people here.
Get a helpful planning guide from Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.
Get facts on infectious diseases for dogs and cats, including Rabies.

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