In March 2017, H3N2 canine influenza was identified in dogs in Los Angeles (LA) County. Most of the dogs were imported from Asia and seen by a veterinarian upon arrival into LA County. The dogs showed signs consistent with influenza such as coughing, sneezing, fever and nasal discharge. A total of 27 dogs were sick with the disease and treated with supportive care. Final testing of two dogs revealed a strain of canine influenza (H3N2) commonly found in Asia, further testing is pending. Most of the dogs have recovered.
H3N2 canine influenza usually causes mild disease in dogs and on rare occasions can also infect cats. This strain of canine influenza was first found in the US in 2015 when it caused a large outbreak in the Chicago area that spread to other parts of the country. Infected dogs start shedding the the virus 2 days before the start of clinical signs (meaning the virus was "available" to other dogs if exposed), and for 21 days or longer afterward. Transmission of influenza usually occurs through contact with infected respiratory secretions (e.g. coughing, sneezing) as well as from contamination of the environment (e.g. bedding, floors, bowls, collars, leashes).
Every day we are surrounded by images and reports telling us that Americans are overweight. We are reminded constantly about the health benefits of weight loss. But did you know that obesity is also an epidemic among the furry members of our families as well? It is estimated that over 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese!
We are the only ones responsible for what we eat and how much we exercise, however for our pets WE control what and how much our pets eat and exercise. Until they learn how to open the fridge door (and before I get all the comments I bet there are a few smart dogs out there that can open the door) we are the only ones responsible for our pet’s health and potential obesity.
Rabies: Educate. Vaccinate. Eliminate.
In recognition of World Rabies Day, I thought I might remind all of us about the importance of vaccinating our pets to protect them from this always fatal disease.
Rabies is a viral infection that has an affinity for neurological tissue, especially the brain. It is found to infect mammals in the wild and can be transmitted to humans as well. It causes anxiety, convulsions, fear of light and water (hydrophobia) and other abnormal behaviors. The virus will make its way to the salivary glands quickly after infection. This is why the normal way that rabies is contracted is through an animal bite and exposure to infected saliva. The virus can be transmitted through any break in the skin by contact with infected tissue. This could include scratches or other wounds contacting saliva or infected tissue.
How painful is an ear ache? Ever had one? How about a broken bone or even a deep bruise? We're all used to managing our own pain levels and the number of products to help us do so is almost limitless. There are so many available over the counter in this day that it can really be difficult to decide what to use and when! America doesn't "do pain," a fact that makes the pain reliever market an incredible one!
When I began practice in 1985 there were very few products available with a veterinary label to manage our pet's pain. Honestly, it was not a subject that received an inordinate amount of emphasis in veterinary curricula. With the development of products like carprofen (Rimadyl) in the late 80's, however, there began to be a new interest in understanding and measuring the level of pain our pets experience. With this interest, a whole new emphasis on pain awareness in veterinary practice began to develop and we, along with our pets, are the beneficiaries.
Did you know that cats now outnumber dogs in the United States as the most popular pet? There are more dog owning households but there are more pet cats! With advances in nutrition and medicine, cats are living longer than ever before. They need less space and don't have the walking requirements of dogs and this has made them more and more popular for the urban dwelling pet owner.
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