Dog Flu Risk at Shelters in Major West Coast Cities. Is Your Dog Vaccinated?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Dog Flu
Instagram/DoveLewis

Update:

ABC 7 News reported that 200 infected dogs were moved to a warehouse after "canine flu" outbreak in Oakland.

There are now confirmed cases in Silicon Valley. 

The original story was posted on June 26, 2019. 

The dog flu is very contagious. The good news is you can get your dog vaccinated. Both Walter and Sherman are vaccinated and it was one treatment and a booster.

It's really important to consider this vaccination and just ask your vet about it when you're there next for a wellness exam. If you live in Oregon, Washington or California you should immediately see your vet and get the vaccination since there is a confirmed outbreak in Portland and the East Bay.

The breaking news is scary for pet parents so here is what you need to know.

In California, it started at the Oakland Animal Services Facilities and now is confirmed at the East Bay SPCA. The dogs have been moved but there is a lot of heavy lifting to get all the infected animals transferred. There are over 100 dogs infected. The dogs will remain there for at least 4-6 weeks and it's highly contagious. KRON4 News reports that the outbreak is still spreading.

In Oregon, three dogs tested positive for the flu at The Oregon Humane Society according to a report from KPTV. Dog adoptions are delayed until at least Friday. They've been treated and moved to an offsite facility.

What is the canine flu? 

Canine influenza virus (CIV) is primarily the result of two influenza strains: H3N8 from an equine origin and H3N2 from an avian origin. Both of these strains were previously known to infect species other than dogs, but are now able to infect and spread among dogs.

How does it spread?

The dog flu is spread through respiratory secretions (e.g., sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge) and contaminated objects such as kennel walls and floors, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and on the clothing and skin of people who come in contact with infected dogs.

The dog flu outbreak is still spreading in East Bay shelters and there is still a risk for dogs at Portland, Oregon shelters since many were exposed. Now the shelters are quarantining hundreds of dogs due to these outbreaks. In the East Bay, they're considering it a natural disaster. Many adoptions have been paused through both of these major West Coast cities.  

Flu symptoms

  • Cough, runny nose, and fever
  • A cough that does not respond to antibiotic or cough suppressant therapy, and lasts 10-21 days. It may be productive or non-productive 
  • Reduced appetite and lethargy
  • Dogs infected with the H3N2 strain of canine influenza appear to be at greater risk of developing more severe clinical signs

The virus is shed for up to 24 days. The East Bay ASPCA says to talk to your vet about the vaccination and if you think your dog is infected call your vet ahead of time before bringing your dog to the clinic.

Pet owners that bring their dogs to dog parks should consider the vaccine. Dog flu "looks" like kennel cough so if your dog has symptoms that resemble a respiratory disease it's worth a call and trip to the vet.

Do you know any dogs with the flu? Please leave a comment below. 

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Dog Flu Risk at Shelters in Major West Coast Cities. Is Your Dog Vaccinated?