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Influenza at Larchmont Animal Clinic

  In all sincerity, the weather in Los Angeles fluctuates with a mind of its own. Nevertheless, summer has arrived, even though you may not see it out your window. This in part is due to June gloom which is underappreciated as it precedes the scalding summer LA is known for. However, there are a few things we can be certain of: schools out, beaches are swarmed, and In-N-Out lines only get longer. Jokes aside Summer is the epitome of relaxation and enjoyment yet there are always a few complications. Many have to prepare their sunscreen, water bottles, and lip balm (recommend ones with SPF) in order to combat any dangers, the sun may impose (hand sanitizer comes a long way too especially with all the crowds). In this same sense wouldn’t you want to protect your dutiful dog from danger as well? Now you may be prepared to protect your furry friend from the dangers of the sun (reference Summertime Safety For Your Pets) however, were here to discuss canine influenza.


Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease

Remember those swarmed beaches and long lines? Even though we're all social creatures by nature (well some) this, in turn, can present a risk for your canine to catch influenza (especially if he or she loves dog parks). Fear not, however, as we here at the Larchmont animal clinic will talk about what canine influenza is, what the warning signs are, and of course how to be prepared.

It is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV) and there are two known strains in the United States. CIV H3N8 was first reported in 2003 and has spread to at least 40 states. The second strain, CIV H3N2 was recently found in the United States and is of avian origin. You may be thinking, wow that’s scary why is the writer trying to get me paranoid? I assure you that is not our goal we only want you the reader to be informed and understand that canine influenza is real and our dogs are all at risk. Unfortunately, we literally mean any dog as age, sex, or breed is not a factor to deter the virus. CIV spreads the same way as the common cold spreads through humans. In essence, if your dog loves to socialize with other dogs they are susceptible to direct contact of CIV.

The virus can also travel through the air and can spread through the contamination of clothes, or other surfaces. Now we are not saying that you should keep your dog locked in your home forever and ever that’s asinine. What you should do is to ask your vet about the Canine influenza vaccine. As the saying goes don’t wait to vaccinate, after all, you want everyone in your family to truly enjoy their summer. The canine influenza vaccine is honestly the best possible protection.

 To conclude let’s imagine (just for this instance) that for some reason or another you were not able to get the vaccine.

There are symptoms that you should definitely look out for

These include coughing and retching, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, decreased appetite, and lastly lethargy. High fever and pneumonia can also be seen in severe cases.

Dogs may even run a fever that can lead to depression

If you or anyone notice these symptoms make an appointment immediately with your local vet. Remember, however, that this heart ache and these terrible symptoms can be avoided with the canine influenza vaccine. When checking off your list of sunscreen and lip balm this summer remember about your furry friend. It could make the difference between a great summer and a worrisome one.