Posts Tagged ‘canine influenza’

Button up Your Dog’s Overcoat: Taking Care in Flu Season

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

If it's ski season, then it's cold weather season for small dogs. Raja helps buy new gear.

Thanks to all the readers who emailed and posted in.  Raja will be delivering two cases of Blue Buffalo dog food to his local shelter before flying to Vail, Colorado for his ski week.  It’s dog flu season, so he’ll be protecting his immune system, in part, by taking coats, hats (yes dogs lose heat through their heads like people) and boots (right, the soles of the feet are a prime heat loss location and even the sled dogs wear boots… in fact the canine boot business began with the sled dogs of Alaska).  But I digress….

Canine Influenza was identified by the Center for Disease Control in 2005.  So it is a relatively new influenza, a serious problem for dogs only, not transferable to their humans.  If your dog displays the symptoms, don’t wait around.  You need a vet and Clavamox.  Thanks to Carol Mahler, RN and Shih Tzu specialist, I have the scoop on Canine Influenza and how antibiotics assist in dealing with this viral illness.

A mutation from a horse virus, canine influenza spreads between dogs and can even be spread through the human touch, dog to dog- so do not fondle every new dog you meet or pick up every product you see in the pet boutique and then pat your dog.  If you volunteer at a shelter, please wash your hands and change your clothes before greeting your own dog at home.

Symptoms include: sleepiness, lack of appetite, a runny nose and, finally, a cough.  Short nosed dogs may never get to the cough because their passages are so small, so don’t “wait and see.”  The virus itself weakens the system allowing secondary bacterial infections to thrive, which is where the Clavamox comes in.  The Clavamox combats the bacterial infections, rendering the viral infection weak and negligible.  This seemingly mild respiratory problem can progress to pneumonia, so too much “wait and see” can be dangerous.

Returning to winter warmth.  Yes, it is true that nobody catches a cold by being cold.  But challenges to the body, like sustained cold, can challenge the immune system.  Vail Valley, Colorado was hit last week by a wide spread human respiratory influenza- meaning even winter-hardy mountaineers can go down fast when a virus attacks.  Yes, dogs of long ago didn’t have coats, but dogs of today live much longer.  Protecting the body’s first line of defense- the skin and temperature maintenance- is part of dog longevity.

Raja and I want to wish everybody a happy, healthy New Year and lots of winter fun!  And next blog, we will tell you all about Raja’s adventures in the snowfields of the majestic American Rocky Mountains!!!!!!