Animal experts say Canine Influenza has made its way to the Central Valley.
Veterinarians at Pet Medical Center and Spa have confirmed the first case in Fresno County. Per Dr. Lee Ann DuMars, "the dog is positive for the strain H3N2 which is the strain that affected Chicago a couple of years ago and there were recent cases in the Bay Area." While she says this is an isolated incident thus far, it's important to take precautions for your furry friends.
There is a vaccine. Animal experts recommend checking with your vet if this vaccine is right for your dog. Dogs must be at least 7 weeks old to receive the vaccine that comes in two rounds. The vaccine carries killed H3N2 and H3N8 strains of the virus.
Symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, decreased appetite, lethargy, and fever. In rare cases, it can lead to pneumonia or death. Experts say if your dog shows symptoms, take it to the vet and keep it away from other dogs.
Canine flu can be passed onto other dogs through your pet's leash, clothing you're wearing, or shared water bowls. To prevent the spread of the virus, wash your hands, change your clothes and clean off your shoes if you think you've been around a dog that might have the flu.
Most clinics and medical centers offer some forms of vaccinations for respiratory infections, but there is a limited supply of the canine influenza vaccine in the Fresno County Area. Pet Medical Center and Spa and the San Joaquin Veterinary Hospital carry the vaccine. Starting February 7th, the SPCA will offer the vaccine. Others are assessing the new information regarding the first canine influenza case in the area and determining whether they'll carry it.