Keep Holiday Pet Safety in the Forefront this Season

Summer and winter seasons see an increase in cases of Bordetella (kennel cough) and Canine Influenza. Have you ever wondered why? These seasons represent the times of year when many people board their pets. An increase in kennel attendance translates into an increase in the spread of respiratory related illness.

Here are some holiday pet safety tips from the staff of Longwood Veterinary Center to make sure your pet stays safe and healthy while you are away.

  1. Select a reputable boarding facility that requires complete vaccinations, deworming, and emergency contacts.
    • Bordetella and Influenza vaccines should be mandatory or at least strongly recommended.
  2. Make sure your pet is up to date on his vaccines/ preventative care.
    • If you need to bring vaccinations up to date, leave a minimum 4 week window before you board. This ensures your pet has time to receive vaccine boosters and will obtain a full level of immunity before boarding.
  3. Contact your veterinarian if your pet shows any signs of coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or develops a fever.
    • All upper respiratory infections show similar signs.
    • Symptoms of Influenza can actually be worse than Bordetella- even though many kennels only require the Bordetella vaccine!

Facts about Canine Influenza:

  1. Caused by a contagious virus identified in several locations in the U.S.
  2. Transmitted by direct contact with an infected dog or contact with contaminated surfaces.
  3. Infected dogs that cough, bark or sneeze can aerosolize the virus so other dogs may inhale it.
  4. Two strains of flu have been identified in dogs- H3N8 and H3N2.
  5. Symptoms typically include persistent cough, nasal discharge, and loss of appetite.
  6. Some dogs show no signs, while others can develop a more life threatening pneumonia.
  7. Most often treatment can be provided on an outpatient basis. However, dogs should be quarantined for the virus shedding period of 21 days.
  8. Vaccines are available for dogs for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains!
  9. Vaccination is not 100% effective, however vaccinated dogs do not become as clinically ill as unvaccinated pets and are less likely to transmit the illness to other dogs.
  10. Currently there is no evidence that people can contract this virus from their pets.

If you are planning to board your pet over the holiday season, contact us at Longwood Veterinary Center to discuss vaccines needed to protect your pet and keep them healthy. We would be happy to advise you on recommended boarding facilities as well. Have a happy holiday!

Written by: Tara Corridori (LVT)