In response to a canine influenza outbreak at a local pet boarding facility, Central Veterinary Associates urges all pet owners to have their pets vaccinated against the canine flu, if they have not already done so, prior to having their pets boarded. In the event their pet becomes ill as the result of the virus, Central Veterinary Associates provides emergency care around the clock, including holidays.
According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a virus — the same virus found in horses with equine influenza. Dogs with a mild case of canine influenza may develop a soft, moist cough that lasts for 10 to 30 days and may have a thick nasal discharge, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection. Dogs with a more severe case of canine flu may develop high fevers of 104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit and have clinical signs of pneumonia — such as increased respiratory rates and difficulty breathing.
On November 21, a canine flu outbreak was confirmed at PetSmart’s doggie day camp and boarding facility in Farmingdale. Eight dogs were diagnosed with the strain of canine flu. This is the third incident to occur in the Greater New York area in the past couple of months. On October 5, Bergen County,New Jerseyofficials closed down its animal shelter after a number of dogs came down with the flu. A few days later, several dogs were sickened by the virus at a boarding kennel in Rockland County.
More boarding facilities are increasingly concerned about the risk involving canine influenza. In a nationwide survey of 127 facilities conducted by Merck Animal Health, more than 25 percent surveyed already require dogs to get the canine flu vaccine before boarding. The survey further shows that 78 percent of the facilities to train its staff to identify canine flu and 43.3 percent of them have a local veterinarian who offers a flu vaccine.
“It is important to vaccinate your pet for canine flu before bringing them to a boarding facility,” said Dr. Steven Fox, president and CEO of Central Veterinary Associates. “There may be another pet with the virus that has not been vaccinated and is able to spread the virus to other unprotected animals. Pet owners must take the necessary precautions to keep their pet safe from the virus.”
Central Veterinary Associates currently offers vaccinations against canine influenza and pet boarding services and provides emergency care in the event an animal becomes sick. The Valley Streamhospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738) or visit www.centralvets.com.