Health News: Canine Flu in Montgomery County, MD

There have been some cases of Canine Flu reported in Montgomery County. Flu is essentially an upper respiratory virus that for MOST dogs is mild and transient. The flu mimics kennel cough, but it lasts for 10 – 21 days, even if antibiotics are used. A few dogs can develop pneumonia, which can be life threatening. The problem is that dogs shed flu for 7-10 days before they show signs of the disease; so, owners don’t know to isolate them when they’re actively shedding.

The vets we have consulted don’t seem overly concerned, since the flu hasn’t spread widely. However, there is a flu vaccine available.  Although the vaccine does not stop transmission, it reduces the severity of the disease and shortens the shedding and symptomatic periods. Talk to your vet about whether or not you should consider the flu vaccine. Some vets are recommending it; others aren’t.

At our training center, we are adding bleach to our cleaning procedures and wiping down all surfaces. We are also using a hospital disinfectant / fogger. Be careful about going to public places, like dog parks, where no one is checking on the dogs’ health and shot records. Our area went through a similar scare four or five years ago, but the warning didn’t last long and few dogs were affected. Hopefully, this time will be similar.