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News Release from Orange County Animal Services
Recommendation for Prevention of Canine Influenza
ORANGE COUNTY, NC – Orange County Animal Services is recommending additional prevention and awareness measures be taken for the spread of Canine Influenza, which has now been confirmed in North Carolina. Canine Influenza (also called “Canine Flu”) is a highly contagious airborne virus that can be spread through close proximity to infected dogs. According to Rollins Laboratories, there have been two confirmed canine deaths from the virus in North Carolina: one in the Raleigh area and the other in Morehead City. The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association also reports other confirmed cases in Carteret, Rockingham, Wake, and Davidson counties.
Dogs may carry and spread the virus without showing symptoms. Symptomatic dogs may experience coughing, decreased appetite, lethargy, eye discharge, nasal discharge, and fever. Most dogs that do show symptoms will do so within 2 to 4 days of exposure.
The best prevention against Canine Influenza is vaccination. Animal Services recommends vaccinating dogs as soon as possible. The vaccine requires that dogs receive a follow-up booster shot 2 to 3 weeks after the initial vaccine. Therefore, it will take 4 to 5 weeks before dogs are protected. Many veterinary offices are currently offering a Canine Influenza vaccine.
- Limit your dog’s exposure to other dogs. Areas where dogs are most likely to come into contact with the virus include dog parks, pet-friendly stores, dog shows, boarding facilities, and similar venues.
- Do not let your dog drink from public water bowls. Beware of other items that can carry the virus: food bowls, leashes, crates, clothing, etc. Cleaners with bleach will kill the virus.
- Humans should practice good sanitation after contact with other dogs or after visiting areas where dogs may routinely be. Change your shoes and clothes, and wash your hands thoroughly. People can pick up the virus in public areas and carry the virus home to their pets unintentionally.
- Isolate any sick pets and keep them isolated for 30 days after symptoms fade.
Most dogs will recover from Canine Influenza with proper treatment. If you suspect your pet may have been exposed to the virus, please call your veterinarian.
For more details, please visit ncagr.gov/vet/aws/canineflu/.