Staff said there is always work to do at Durango Animal Hospital, as pet owners come in to drop of their furry friends for health care, but there is a sickness hospital officials are hoping to avoid: the canine influenza.
Although there have not been any confirmed cases in Las Vegas, hospital director Travis McDermott, DVM said he believes it is only a matter of time until it comes to the valley.
“Last time I checked, we now have 85 confirmed cases in Reno,” McDermott said. “It’s scary.”
McDermott said symptoms for canine influenza are similar to kennel cough, like sneezing, nasal discharge and loss of appetite, but the outcome could be worse for the flu.
“It looks very much like kennel cough ... except eight to ten percent of dogs that get it, can die from it.”
He adds that the virus spreads much like the human flu through the air, and some dogs face a greater risk of contracting it.
“The at-risk dogs are going to be dogs that are more social ... around other dogs, going to dog parks, boarding facilities, grooming.”
Animal experts were warning patients Tuesday.
“It’s pretty much one of those things that is out of sight and out of mind,” dog owner Chozon Bowman said. “We really don’t think about it as much, but it’s something that we should think about before something happens.”
That is why McDermott said he is recommending the dog flu vaccination.
“Unlike the human version of the flu, which has many strains." "There is only two that we know of in the United States and the vaccine covers both.”
It’s a shot series. The first set is given, then two to four weeks later, another set and the dog is protected. But McDermott said the vaccination takes 30 days to be effective.
“That is the scary thing as well." "The spread can occur while they’re not even acting sick, so usually by the time you first see signs, they’ve had it for a while and we’re behind.”
McDermott said the shot could be the difference between life and death for pets.
“It’s a scary thing,” dog owner Jack Ross said. “I think I need to take care of this one and get my other two vaccinated.”
The vaccine costs $32 at Durango Animal hospital but prices vary depending on the veterinarian.
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