Canine Influenza: Everything You Need to Know About Dog Flu

The Louisville Dog Flu is no joke!Canine influenza virus (CIV), or dog flu, has been the talk of the town among pet owners here in Louisville. In fact, the local CIV outbreak has been quite strange and rather aggressive – to the point that this new strain of dog flu is named after our city!

What is canine influenza and where did it come from? And, how can you protect your dog from this ever-changing risk to your pet’s health and well-being? The team at Shelden Veterinary Care can help you understand the risks posed by the recent outbreak.

What Is Canine Influenza?

Canine influenza was first diagnosed in 2004 in a group of greyhounds in Florida. At that time, the strain was isolated to H3N8, and a vaccine was quickly made available. The latest strain in canine flu is H3N2, which was discovered in the greater Chicago area in 2015. While many pets have been exposed to and/or vaccinated against the old strain, this new one spread quickly among unvaccinated dogs.

Like many respiratory illnesses, canine flu is highly contagious and can spread quickly between infected and unvaccinated animals. It also isn’t static to one area. When people and their pets begin traveling this spring and summer, there’s an increased level of risk as the number of infected dogs continues to grow.

Symptoms of the virus range from mild to serious. Dogs with compromised immunity, puppies, and senior pets are at an increased risk.

The following are signs that your pet may have contracted canine influenza:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

The Louisville Strain of Dog Flu

Since last autumn, we have experienced a sharp spike in the number of cases of canine influenza and the increased severity of the symptoms. From this, we have determined that the current vaccine against H3N2 does not seem to be effective against this new resurgence in our area.

The current vaccines don’t defend against the Louisville strain, but people should still get their dogs vaccinated, as the vaccine will protect against the normal strain. Additionally, the vaccine manufacturers will pay for treatment on vaccinated dogs that become infected, even if they find the dog has this new strain.

We will continue to provide updates as we learn more.

Ways to Protect Your Pet From the Dog Flu

Education and prevention go a long way in protecting your best fur pal from contracting dog flu, as well as many other infectious diseases. There are good ways to minimize risk, and the team at Shelden Veterinary Care is here to help!

Consider the following tips:

  1. Avoid places where dogs congregate, like dog parks, kennels, and daycares.
  2. Wash your hands and change your clothes after interacting with dogs.
  3. Stay current on your pet’s vaccinations, including the canine influenza vaccine, which is mandatory for most pet-related facilities.
  4. Stay outside or in the car with your pet when waiting to see the veterinarian.
  5. Remain knowledgeable about areas where there’s been an outbreak, including travel destinations.
  6. If your dog shows symptoms, isolate them from other dogs and seek veterinary care.

Please call us with any additional questions about the canine influenza virus or if you want to schedule an appointment for a vaccination.

Parasite Prevention in Pets

parasite prevention in petsParasites might be small, but they can sure cause big problems when it comes to your pet’s health. Some can be seen with the naked eye while others require a microscope. Either way, they can make both you and your pet sick. Luckily, Shelden Veterinary Care has some great tools for parasite prevention in pets.


Fear Free for 2018: What is a Fear Free Practice?  

fear-free practiceAt Shelden Veterinary Care, we’re embarking on a new and exciting path. We’ve always been conscientious about your pet’s happiness and well being, both at home and at our practice. Recently, however, the Fear Free initiative has come to our attention, and we’re hooked on the idea.

You may have heard of Dr. Marty Becker “America’s Veterinarian,” who’s the founder of this movement. But chances are, the term “fear free practice” is new to you. We’re so excited to begin this endeavor – let’s review!


Did You Make Any Pet Health Resolutions? It’s Never Too Late!

pet resolutionsWhile the new year provides a unique opportunity to press the reset button on a variety of patterns, behaviors, and questionable habits, it’s never too late to make important changes. To be sure, pet health can be supported year-round, and if there are ways you can better support overall wellness, now is as good a time as any.


Shelden Veterinary Care’s Top 5 Blogs of 2017

Wait; what?!? Wasn’t it just Halloween? The days go by so quickly towards the end of the year; it’s like experiencing a type of seasonal whiplash! If only time moved this fast when you’re standing in line at the DMV or waiting for your food at a restaurant – oh well! All we can do at this point is take a deep breath and pause. Of course, we prepare for the future, but to be truly successful in 2018, we have to take stock of our accomplishments before the year ends.

After reviewing our pet care blog, we have so much for which to be grateful. Our readers let us know what they liked and what they want to see next. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 articles from our pet care blog. Enjoy!


How to Help Your Local Shelter This Holiday Season

The holidays aren’t just for humans; there are many ways to help pets in need this season. Our local animal shelters are a great place to start. By volunteering, donating, or fostering, you can make it a wonderful life for pets in need this year. Our team at Shelden Veterinary Care has compiled these ideas for how to help your local shelter this holiday season.


Nothing Spooky About Safety: Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe on Halloween

pet safe on halloweenAt its core, Halloween is a time for carving pumpkins, decorating the yard with witches and ghouls, and figuring out a costume that will win this year’s grand prize. Whether you plan on dressing your pet up for some trick-or-treating or staying indoors and passing out handfuls of sugary treats, your pet’s safety should be at the top of this season’s to-do list.


Give Me a “P!” Understanding Pet Urinary Problems

pet urinary problemsAs your pet’s doctor, we can learn a whole lot about your pet’s overall health status by examining things like blood, urine, and feces. In fact, at Shelden Veterinary Care, we find that pet urinary problems are one of the most common reasons we see pets outside of wellness visits. Keep reading, and you, too, can be a pet pee expert!


Four-Legged Mourning: Coping With Pet Grief

pet griefLosing a loved one tops the list of the most devastating experiences we can have, and, for many people, the loss of a pet can be just as painful. However, have you ever considered the impact losing a pet can have on surviving pet family members?

To anyone who’s ever shared their life with a pet, it probably comes as no surprise  that animals experience complex emotions. We may not be able to sit down and talk with them about their sadness, but there are plenty of ways we can help them work through pet grief and be able to enjoy life once again.

Do Animals Mourn?

There’s plenty of evidence documenting mourning in animals. Elephants are known to congregate around the body of a deceased family member. Chimpanzees often exhibit behavioral changes in response to loss, including anger, depression, and refusal to eat.


Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Baby at Home

pet adjustThe highly keen senses belonging to your pet have likely keyed him or her into the mystery that is pregnancy, and it’s not just the shrinking floor space (or cuddle room next to a growing belly). Sure, there are new contraptions to contend with (cribs, swings, pack ‘n plays, etc.), but it can be a challenge to truly prepare a pet for the sight, sounds, and smells of a new baby.