Canine Influenza aka “The Dog Flu”
The highly contagious canine influenza has finally made its unwelcome introduction to the Natural State. And, it pounced on us quickly. Symptoms look just like other upper respiratory infections but, if left untreated, could be life-threatening. We strongly recommend keeping your elderly and immunocompromised doggos home.
Yes. There is a vaccine.
Dr. Blair Hauk at Bayens Hauk Veterinary Group “recommends that all dogs that are boarding and participating in group activities should receive the H3N2/H3N8 vaccination and the intranasal Bordetella/Parainfluenza vaccination.”
Since Summer 2018, Hounds Lounge has required the Canine Influenza vaccines for all guests to play or stay with us. In fall 2022, the canine influenza vaccine became scarce with an unexpected national supply shortage. What the FLUFF?! In an effort to keep our pack and furry community healthy, we remained strict on out-of-state traveling doggos to have completed both rounds of the canine influenza boosters for a minimum of two weeks. Unfortunately, other dog facilities didn’t take the dog flu as seriously as us.
Some local vets do have a supply of the Canine Influenza Vaccine in stock, therefore we strongly encourage you to inquire about getting your woof vaccinated. But please know doggo vaccines, just like human vaccines, are not 100% effective but will lessen the symptoms if your dog does come into contact with an unknown carrier.
There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. There have been reports of H3N2 dog flu transferring to cats.
It is very important to ensure that when you are getting your doggo vaccinated for the flu, that your vet is administering the bivalent vaccine that covers both H3N2 AND H3N2. The Canine Influenza vaccine is a two-part vaccine, which means that a dog that has never been vaccinated for the dog flu will receive part 1 then part 2 will be boostered 2-6 weeks later. Full protection will not kick in until two weeks after the boostered vaccine. Please note that if not boostered within 6 weeks, you must start over. After the initial two vaccines are given, the flu vaccine should be administered annually.
Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) aka “Kennel Cough”
An infectious respiratory disease that can be detected by your dog’s cough sounding much like a goose honking sound. “Kennel Cough” as it is commonly referred to, is made up of multiple viral and bacterial infections, according to Dr. Lauren Schluterman of Bowman Road Animal Clinic.
The most common cause of kennel cough is a contagious bacteria that is picked up in an environment or from licking furriends in the face. For all of our vacationers’ protection, the bordetella vaccine is required to stay at Hounds Lounge Resort and Spa and must be given at least 48 hours before arrival. If overdue by 30 days or more, a two week wait is required.
While all dogs must be vaccinated for Bordetella, Parainfluenza (different than canine influenza vaccine) and distemper/parvo/hepatitis/coronavirus, there are also other bacteria and viruses that can cause kennel cough, making the vaccine not 100% fool-proof.
Animal health care providers and professionals are seeing a vaccine-resistant kennel cough this year too across the United States and believe that there may be a new strain. Vaccinations do not prevent dogs from acquiring a cough. Vaccinations do prevent multiple infections that will cause severe illness. – Dr. Blair Hauk at Bayens Hauk Veterinary Group
What Are We Doing at All Hounds Lounge Locations to Create the Safest Place for Your Pooch?
We know you and your dog need us. We’ve strongly considered closing our doors temporarily but have decided against it because the reality of it is, you trust us with your dog’s care when you’re away, and you’re still going on that long-awaited vacation you deserve and still have to do your human things. If we were to close, you’d have no other choice but to seek out other pet care where your dog would also be at risk. Also, if we were to close, these upper respiratory infections would not be eradicated. After speaking with animal medical professionals and dog boarding owners across the nation, this won’t stop unless every single dog-fun outing stops— no dog parks, no patios, no spa days and all of the local boarding facilities shut down too. But, even if that happened, the cough/flu would still be prevalent just like COVID.
Hounds Lounge requires every single vaccine animal health care providers have available in effort to provide the healthiest and happiest place on earth. There are at least 15 different strains of “canine cough” and unfortunately there aren’t vaccines that cover all 15 strains.
On top of our strict vaccine requirements, we have rigorous cleaning routines daily:
-Blue Light UV Bulbs installed in HVAC.
-Change air filters monthly (weekly during coughing season).
-Clean. Clean. Clean.
-We use animal-safe, hospital-grade chemicals to clean our luxury hotel suites, dog beds, play yards/toys, floors, tubs and grooming spa.
-Powerwash walls, floors, turf nightly.
-We generously sanitize every surface nightly after cleaning.
-Fog our facility with a misting sanitizer in effort to kill airborne particles.
-Communicate health concerns and risks to you by posting flyers in our lobby, sending out emails and having conversations with you at drop off.
-Strongly encouraging any dog to visit a vet to be prescribed medications.
What happens if your dog presents symptoms while at the Lounge?
If your dog is with us and begins presenting symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, we will quickly remove them from the play yard and place them in quarantine and call you. We hope that you have arranged a local emergency contact person that would be available to pick up your woof. If not, we understand, although it’s important to note that any dogs in our care that are presenting symptoms will still be well cared for and loved but will only be permitted for short walks throughout the day and no interaction with others. We will take your dog to the vet to begin antibiotics to prevent life-threatening secondary infections.
What Are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
Other than your dog coughing frequently in a hacking or honking manner, there are several other symptoms to know when it comes to your dog and kennel cough. Some of these symptoms are often confused with common allergies we have here in Arkansas. Not to mention that when our doggos are battling allergies, their immune system is compromised welcoming the bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory infections to enter.
These symptoms include:
- Hacking or honking cough
- Runny nose or eyes
- Repeated sneezing
Less common yet more severe symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite (also a side effect of the #HoundsLoungeHangover)
A trip to the vet is in order if you believe your beloved fur baby is experiencing any number of these symptoms or you suspect your dog may have kennel cough. It is best to not delay treatment to avoid any unnecessary infections or worsening of symptoms – just in case! Kennel cough is also more likely to be transmitted to dogs with compromised immune systems and young pups, as well.
How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough or The Dog Flu?
There are several bacterias and viruses that can cause your precious woof to come down with a canine cold. Much like hoomans can get a cold from many types of viruses or bacteria, dogs can also come down with kennel cough or dog flu from a variety of viral or bacterial culprits. Because kennel cough and the dog flu are highly infectious, they spread easily from dog to dog in close proximity to each other and is even airborne.
Similarly to other respiratory illnesses, kennel cough and dog flu can be passed from woof to woof through:
- Airborne respiratory droplets
- Direct contact with an infected pooch (nose-to-nose contact or kisses)
- Sharing toys or via other contaminated surfaces
Diagnosis of Kennel Cough or The Dog Flu in Our Fur Fam
At Hounds Lounge, we are not veterinarians and your pup should be taken to his or her regular vet if you suspect your pooch may have come down with kennel cough or the dog flu.
Once at your vet, they may take bacterial cultures or blood tests to isolate and identify the bacteria. An x-ray of your dog’s chest, lungs and trachea may also be taken. While many cases of kennel cough resolve themselves in around three weeks, it’s important to have a vet check your pooch to make sure that no complications, such as infections, are arising. It’s likely your vet will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent a secondary infection, such as pneumonia, and a cough tab to lessen the cough.
Timeline and Treatment for Kennel Cough and The Dog Flu
Kennel cough and the dog flu, much like a hooman colds, run their course over time and usually clear up with no complications. The virus may incubate for 2-14 days after exposure, then your dog may exhibit symptoms from 7-14 days. Your dog is still infectious on day 10 and should be kept away from any other dogs at home. To ensure the safety of our furry guests, our policy at the Lounge is that any dog that is diagnosed or being treated for kennel cough or dog flu must wait 14 days after the last cough or the last antibiotic (whichever comes last) before returning to Hounds Lounge.
“It is recommended that any dog with a current communicable illness must wait at least 14 days after symptoms are gone to resume doggy playtime. It is very important that all prescribed antibiotics are finished completely even if clinical signs, such as coughing, have completely resolved.”
Dr. Lauren Schluterman, Bowman Road Animal Clinic
Kennel Cough and Dog Flu Prevention
Vaccinations are the best way to protect your pooch against kennel cough or dog flu. Although, as mentioned earlier, kennel cough and the dog flu can be caused by an array of bacteria and viruses, so the vaccines may not be effective at protecting against these other possible culprits.
Other ways to protect your dog include helping them naturally boost their immune system via a healthy dog food diet, regular exercise and a stress-free environment. If your dog has been exposed to kennel cough or the dog flu or has caught either, please be sure to keep them away from other dogs and animals to reduce the spread of this common canine cold.
“Both humans and dogs require appropriate immunizations to protect against infectious diseases for the safety of all. The best thing we can do for our four-legged companions is to keep them up-to-date on all of their appropriate immunizations to not keep them from the activities that they enjoy!”
Dr. Lauren Schluterman, Bowman Road Animal Clinic
Hounds Lounge is Here to Keep Your Woof Safe
As a hooman, sickness can get us down. We know too well how hard it is to see our fur babes deal with sicknesses of their own, no matter how mild. Kennel cough and the dog flu should be taken seriously, especially if your beloved fur child has a compromised immune system, is older or if they’re still a young pup.
The seriousness of contagious doggy diseases is a matter not taken lightly at the Lounge. Much like we expect hooman restaurants, hotels, airplanes, schools and workplaces to do everything that they can to keep us safe, we expect the same for our cherished fur babes.
In order to stay and play at Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa, we require all woofs to be current on their vaccination schedules as well as be symptom-free when it comes to kennel cough or dog flu. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and willingness to keep Hounds Lounge kennel cough and dog flu-free! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact your neighborhood HL location.