The symptoms of Dog Flu include coughing, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In more severe cases, you may notice faster breathing, depression, or anorexia.
Dog Flu is highly contagious and unvaccinated dogs are susceptible as they have not developed natural immunity. That's why it's very important to establish precautious and procedures to minimize the risk at your facility.
Your facility's staff should inquire if the dog has recently been adopted or boarded at a shelter, participated in dog-related group activities, or been exposed to other dogs with Dog Flu. They should isolate the dog in a separate room away from other dogs and contact a veterinarian immediately for evaluation.
It is important that your facilities are cleaned thoroughly and regularly to prevent Dog Flu. Having a policy in place that promotes annual Dog Flu vaccinations is also a proactive measure you can take to minimize the risk of Dog Flu spreading within your facility. Be sure to also have a plan in place for isolating infected dogs.
It is important that your facility establish protocols for sanitation and isolation in case of any respiratory disease. Protocols include thoroughly cleaning floors, walls, tables, doorknobs, kennels, dog runs, dog beds, bowls, toys, leashes, etc., with soap and water before sanitizing them with the appropriate disinfectant in the right concentration indicated on the label. Your staff should be regularly trained on all protocols.
If an infected dog arrives at your facility, it is important to thoroughly clean floors, walls, and tables in the room where the dog was isolated. Doorknobs and other objects that were touched by humans in contact with the infected dog should also be disinfected. Staff should wash their hands with soup and water or disinfect with an alcohol-based sanitizer after handling the animal. Clothing and shoes should be disinfected as well. Air ducts also need to be professionally cleaned and treated to kill airborne viruses. The sanitation process will most likely take a few days so you should expect to keep your facility closed during this time.
It is important that clients know how contagious Dog Flu is and to contact their veterinarian immediately if they notice symptoms. If diagnosed, it's critical that clients keep their dogs away from places heavily frequented by other dogs and prioritize cleanliness and sanitization. Most importantly, clients should know that the best protection against Dog Flu is annual vaccination.
If an outbreak occurs, facilities may face significant sanitation costs, loss of income due to temporary shutdown, and a tarnished reputation.
Dog Flu presents a greater risk to infected dogs than Bordetella as it cannot simply be treated with antibiotics. Proper Dog Flu vaccination, especially for social dogs, is equally as critical or even more so than vaccination against Bordetella. AAHA guidelines recommend that dogs at risk be vaccinated for both diseases.