Dogs and Diseases

Not to be overly dramatic, but it seems that lately there’s been a spike in two preventable diseases in dogs:  Lyme disease and Influenza.

Lyme Disease

I’m not sure about your perspective, but it seems like the ticks are out in force this year.  We’ve seen quite a few on our own dogs and they don’t really spend that much time in the grass!  At Friends of Toto, we see a lot of customers are using the Seresto collars.  Even with them though, we’re still finding the occasional tick that needs to be plucked.  Fortunately, there is a vaccination for Lyme disease for dogs.  We had our dogs vaccinated this year for the first time.  It’s a two shot process, but my understanding is that we’ll only need to get booster shots annually from now on.  It’s a little piece of mind in creepy-crawly world of ticks!

Influenza

Likewise, I participated in a FaceBook Live discussion this morning on the spread of canine influenza in the US . . . particularly in the Southeast where so many of our rescue friends come from.  Interestingly, the speakers noted that typically the influenza virus impacts mixed breed dogs, but this most recent outbreak started at dog shows and so seems to be mostly impacting pure breeds.  I thought it was interesting that so often if a person hears their dog cough, the initial instinct is to think it’s kennel cough, when in fact only 12% of the time does it actually turn out to be kennel cough.  33% of the time it’s actually influenza.  As such, if you hear a cough:  don’t take any chances!  Talk to your vet right away!!  If you do visit your vet, ask them about protocols for the visit.  They may want to schedule you at the end of the day or see you in an isolation room so as to not expand the virus’ reach.

On that note, the virus does spread considerably easy.  80% of dogs exposed to the virus will contract the disease.  The vets we heard from mentioned that being in any degree of proximity (20 feet or less) can get your dog exposed.  It’s enough to scare people just to stay home.  The good news though is two-fold:  1)  It’s preventable.  There are vaccinations out there that will protect your dog from both the H2N2 and H2N8 virus strains.  Talk to your vet about what’s best for your personal situation.  2)  So far, anyway, the northeast has not incurred any kind of out break.  It’s something we’re vigilant about and we’re hoping you are too!!

Stay safe everyone!!

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