Reports of dog flu outbreak concerns local residents

Canine flu vaccine is available

– Local residents raise concerns about a possible canine flu outbreak in San Luis Obispo County. Several readers called the Paso Robles Daily News and asked questions about canine flu. Some of the concerns are based on reports from the Los Angeles District, where 279 confirmed cases and 120 suspected cases of CIV H3N2 were reported between July and September 22, 2021.

The local vets Dr. James Wiest of the Paso Robles Veterinary Medical Clinic and Dr. Michael Ramos of El Camino Veterinary Hospital said there are actually two strains of the canine influenza virus: H3N8 and H3N2.

Wiest said his clinic hadn’t had a case of canine flu in a few years. Ramos said his veterinary clinic had three confirmed cases and 20-25 suspected cases in the past month. “We don’t usually see this disease here,” said Ramos. Both vets said that canine flu is most common in dogs that have retired, in daycare or dog parks, or other situations where dogs come in close contact with other dogs.

“This disease is endemic to the Los Angeles area,” said Ramos. Wiest said, “We are on the travel corridor between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, although not that many cases are reported up there.” Visitors from outside the region who travel with their dogs visit the beaches, the dog parks, go for walks with their dogs and sometimes go to kennels on site. A friendly sniff between an uninfected and an infected dog could be anything.

“If your dog has had contact with other dogs, watch out for the symptoms,” said Wiest. “We don’t see many cases here because we’re not as densely populated as Southern California or the Bay Area and South Bay areas.”

Dogs infected with canine flu show symptoms within about 14 days of contact with an infected dog. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • lethargy
  • cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sneeze
  • Nasal discharge

Some dogs may show little or no symptoms. “Most dogs recover,” said Ramos. “Those who do not tend to have underlying health conditions.” A visit to the vet is a good precaution if your dog is deviating from normal behavior a little.

“It is advisable to have your dogs vaccinated against the virus,” said Wiest, “especially if you are in kennel or if you take your dog to the beach or in dog parks.” Ramos said that he would definitely be after the bivalent vaccine H3N8 / H3N2 ask.

An infected dog cannot be vaccinated until 28 days after the last clinical sign. Healthy dogs can, however, be vaccinated at any time and especially before they go to a dog day care center or kennel. “Some of the local kennels need the vaccine,” said Ramos.

The vaccine is given in two doses, with the second booster dose following the first two to four weeks. If you plan to travel with your dog or get on board while you are away, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to start the vaccination.

Additional resources for more information, in addition to local vets, include:

About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.

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