As we announced recently, the southern Muskoka region had become the epi-centre hot spot for the most recent outbreak of canine influenza in Ontario.
In conjunction with the Ontario Veterinary College we sampled all pets (at no cost to owners) that were suspected to be affected with the virus and helped to contribute to the understanding of the spread of canine influenza in Ontario.
To date there have been well over 100 confirmed cases in our region. This is a true concern for our pet dog population.
While at present there appears to be containment of the primary source of the virus introduction into Ontario, there remains great concern for the degree to which this can become a worse outbreak because of all the pets that were secondarily exposed.
Considering pets can be transmitters of the virus for approximately one week before they even begin to show signs of illness and then continue to transmit the virus for at least two weeks after they have completely recovered (which in itself takes around three weeks), there remains ample opportunity for great numbers of pets to be affected.
Similarly to how rampant human influenza can spread throughout a population, canine influenza is just as easily contracted. This can be through direct exposure to another ill dog, or simply from the environment that an ill dog has been in, or from what are called “fomite transfers”. Fomites are literally any object that can carry a virus such as shoes, clothing, floors, water bowls, etc. to dog parks, walking areas, and grass fields.
Considering canine influenza can cause dogs to be ill for around three weeks (plus another 3 weeks of contagious period), the possibility for many dogs to be affected is substantial.
As well, with the onset of spring in the near future, more people and their dogs will be out enjoying our beautiful region after a long winter.
Protection for your dog is simple and very safe.
Vaccination with the Canine Influenza Vaccine is available and easily administered at our hospital. Side effects from vaccination are extremely rare and tend to be very mild in nature.
Please call us to arrange for your dog to be protected against Canine Influenza Virus.
If your pet is or has been showing signs of any of the following: coughing, sneezing, or watery nose/eyes please inform us of such when calling. We will advise you on what is best for your pet and be there to help.
On behalf of our entire team,
Dr Jason McLeod