Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital has become aware of a recent increase of serious upper respiratory infection cases in dogs in Oregon, California and Colorado, among other areas. Several concerned clients have contacted us for recommendations as we move into the holiday season and travel plans are being finalized.
Thankfully, at FVH, we have not seen an increase in coughing dogs nor cases of unusually severe respiratory problems in dogs and we do not think there is an immediate threat locally. Contagious, upper-respiratory infections are always at greater risk in scenarios where dogs are in group settings, such as off leash dog parks, boarding, day care and grooming facilities. Vaccines and reduction in group interaction are the best prevention for infection. Ensuring your pup is current on both their Bordetella vaccine and their DHPP (distemper combo, which includes parainfluenza) is critical.
Unfortunately, at this time, the causative agent in these recent cases is unknown and so it is difficult to say which vaccine, if any, may be most effective. Avoiding exposure is likely the best protection.
The recommendation of Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital is to ensure your dog is current on the aforementioned vaccines, pay close attention to symptoms such as a new cough, especially if combined with lethargy, and reduce their exposure to other dogs by avoiding group settings. If you are traveling to areas where Canine Influenza has been documented, please speak with your veterinarian to determine if vaccination is appropriate for your dog.
The Canine Influenza vaccine has not been a part of the FVH vaccine protocol previously as we have never had a local outbreak of this disease and FVH tailors our vaccine recommendations to the individual patient needs. However, given the increased incidents of this disease in other states, we will begin stocking this vaccine soon to help support our patients who are traveling or otherwise at greater risk.
If your pup is not current on their vaccines, or is displaying a new cough, especially if combined with lethargy, please do not allow them to interact with other dogs and contact FVH to schedule an exam. Otherwise, please carefully consider your travel plans and the additional risk of group settings.