Baton Rouge Veterinarian Warns of Canine Influenza and Urges Vaccinations

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, UNITED STATES


BATON ROUGE, La., July 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jefferson Animal Hospital is warning pet owners about the dangers of canine influenza. While the hospital has not yet diagnosed any cases, there have been reports of canine flu in neighboring states. The animal clinic provides a vaccination for canine flu, which is required for all boarding pets and hospitalized pet patients. Veterinarians Dr. Sam Haase and Dr. Frederic Michaelson are urging pet owners to vaccinate their pets as part of a proactive wellness program.

Veterinarian Dr. Haase, the co-founder of Jefferson Animal Hospital, is urging pet owners to vaccinate their dog against canine influenza. According to Dr. Haase, reports of canine flu outbreaks in neighboring states have the animal hospital on alert.

"We strongly recommend that pet owners vaccinate their dogs against canine flu," said Dr. Haase. "While our animal clinic has not diagnosed any cases, there are reports of cases in neighboring states. Vaccination is a precautionary step that is essential to preventing an outbreak in Baton Rouge."

Canine flu is a highly contagious influenza strain that is easily transmitted between dogs. According to veterinarian and clinic co-founder Dr. Michaelson, many infected dogs may initially appear healthy, causing the virus to spread rapidly at dog parks, pet daycare, pet grooming, and boarding facilities.

"Canine influenza is an airborne virus that spreads easily between dogs," said Dr. Michaelson. "Since most dogs leave their house at some point during the week, it's inevitable that the majority of Baton Rouge canines could be eventually exposed to this illness. Prevention is truly the best treatment."

Symptoms of canine influenza include a runny nose, coughing and a fever. Many dogs may become dehydrated and develop secondary infections, such as pneumonia, which can lead to death. Canine influenza does not have a cure.

"The only treatment we can provide is to support the sick dog through hydration and comfort," said Dr. Haase. "We will do our best to prevent the development of secondary infections, however, doing so can be extremely difficult. Vaccination is truly the only effective way to protect a pet's health."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), canine influenza is considered a "newly emerging pathogen in dogs." The first case was recorded in 2004. Cases have now been recorded in 38 states, including nearly 100 cases last year in Texas.

"Last fall, a recent outbreak in San Antonio, Texas served as a reminder to pet owners about the importance of vaccination," said Dr. Michaelson. "In an effort to keep pets protected here at our animal clinic, we require vaccination prior to admittance for pet boarding or overnight pet urgent care."

Pet owners who wish to learn more about the canine influenza vaccine may contact the veterinary team at Jefferson Animal Hospital.

In addition to vaccinations, the veterinary clinic provides Baton Rouge pet wellness and surgical care.


        

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