Canine Flu Information

Canine influenza information

Canine influenza is a relatively new virus that has caused various outbreaks across the country, most recently in the SF Bay area.  In the past few weeks, there have been some reports of dogs on the Central Coast testing positive for the virus. We have tested several dogs here at Woods who have upper respiratory symptoms (“kennel cough”) and so far none have tested positive for the canine influenza virus.  We will continue to diligently monitor the health of our animals, isolate and treat those who are sick, and take all steps necessary to mitigate the risk of an outbreak.  It is important to note that it is impossible to distinguish canine influenza from other viruses that cause kennel cough based on symptoms alone; you must perform special testing in order to confirm a diagnosis. Canine influenza is not contagious to people, but there is a possibility that cats can become infected.  


The canine influenza virus is spread through:

        Direct contact with an infected dog and touching of contaminated objects such as bedding, food and water dishes, leashes and collars

        An infected dog coughing and sneezing on or near other dogs

·         People touching an infected dog and then handling an uninfected dog


        Some dogs may show no signs or minimal signs of disease

        Coughing, sneezing, eye and nasal discharge

        Fever, lethargy, reduced appetite


        Just like with any virus, supportive care with fluids, nutrition, warmth and comfort is important

        Antibiotics may be necessary for secondary bacterial infections; in some cases, cough suppressants may be needed for persistent, dry coughs

        Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks

        Shedding of the virus post-recovery may last for several weeks


        We encourage you to follow up with your regular veterinarian to determine if vaccinating for canine influenza is right for your dog; the process requires 2 vaccinations, 2-4 weeks apart, and your dog is not considered protected from canine influenza until 2 weeks after the second vaccine

        Avoid exposing your dog to obviously sick dogs

        If there is an outbreak in your area, avoid taking your dog  to areas where dogs gather

        If your dog shows signs of illness, as indicated above, please isolate from other dogs and seek veterinary care as soon as possible

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in San Luis Obispo County since 1955.