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Monday, May 27, 2024

Dog flu has also made a comeback

Veterinarians at a Texas animal shelter weren’t very worried when a few canines began coughing in October. Operation Kindness, the shelter, has cared for many ill canines throughout the years.

However, the coughs appeared to persist, and soon there were dozens of hacking dogs. About 86 percent of the shelter’s 150 dogs were sick by mid-November.

Executive Director of Operation Kindness Ed Jamison said, “This was simply so fast-acting.” Operation Kindness is headquartered in Carrollton, Texas, which is about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Results from the lab showed that the canines had caught the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, which has been causing a number of recent outbreaks throughout the Southern United States. Veterinarians have used social media to alert their customers about the illness, dog day cares have shut down, and shelters like Operation Kindness have temporarily halted adoptions.

Despite recurrent outbreaks in the United States since 2015, researchers have emphasised that the virus poses no threat to humans at this time and that most infected canines recover quickly.

Some vets have hypothesised that changes in American lifestyle may be contributing to the current surge in canine influenza incidence. They noted that the resumption of travel and the reopening of offices has led to an increase in the number of dogs spending time together in kennels and at day care, both of which are ideal environments for the spread of contagious diseases.

Dr. Silene St. Bernard, regional medical director for Southern California at VCA Animal Hospitals, said, “We had a bit of a calm time during the first three years of Covid.” Pets stayed at the house while their owners were at work. And there didn’t seem to be as many cases of these very dangerous diseases.”

If the virus has been detected in the region, experts advise dog owners to be on the lookout for signs such as coughing, fever, and lack of appetite. And dog owners whose pets frequent public spaces may want to think about getting vaccinated against canine influenza.

Canine flu comes in two varieties. The first strain, H3N8, was identified in greyhounds in Florida in 2004; it had originated in horses.

But H3N2, which first appeared in birds, is to blame for the most recent epidemics. Although it had been spreading for some time before it was discovered in South Korean canines in 2007, the disease quickly spread across the rest of Asia.

There were other epidemics around the nation that were sparked by the virus’s initial transmission in the Midwest.

Several studies imply that H3N2 has been reintroduced to the United States on several occasions since then.

The virus, which is carried by sick dogs’ respiratory droplets and aerosols, may spread rapidly in groups and even over state lines.

From July 2021 to January 2022 of last year, there were over 1,300 confirmed cases of the virus in Los Angeles.

Dr. Alverson said that the Humane Society euthanized numerous very sick dogs before the epidemic subsided, despite having halted canine adoptions for six weeks. Now, she said, after a little lull, the infection has returned.

Experts have also highlighted reports of cases in other states, including Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, and others.

Furthermore, influenza is not the only virus affecting the respiratory system. Charlotte, North Carolina vet clinics and doggie daycares reported an increase in sneezing and hacking canines this season.

Dogs in the area have been exposed to a variety of respiratory infections, including canine influenza and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency, a veterinary facility, has witnessed a surge in cases of canine pneumonia due to respiratory illnesses in recent weeks.

Mr. Jamison reported that the worst of the epidemic at Operation Kindness had passed, and that no dogs had died as a result, albeit several were still receiving care. The shelter restarted its adoption programme over the weekend, and 21 dogs were adopted.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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