We received good news today. All three samples we submitted to the diagnostic lab came up negative for CIV. That means these cases we have seen are just nasty cases of kennel cough or CIRD and all should respond well to the medicines we have prescribed. We are very thankful to find out we did not have CIV in our boarding kennel and so far have not seen any more cases of coughing dogs from our facility. We are doing everything in our power to protect the dogs who will be staying with us over the 4th and in the near future. But we also know there are some nasty bugs still out there so recommend everyone remain careful in regard to where your dogs go this summer. Again, we will keep you posted if anything changes. Thank you for your support through these trying times.
Yesterday two dogs in our kennel started coughing. One was boarded for a week, the other for over 10 days. Both dogs are doing well other than the cough. Fortunately, both dogs were picked up today. We are taking all the precautions we can including disinfecting everything our boarding dogs come in contact with. We are increasing walk time to minimize dog interaction. We have called all clients with reservations for the upcoming two weeks to alert them to the potential problem in case they wish to find an alternative option. We will be completely disinfecting sections of the kennel at a time which is where new boarders will stay. The insidious nature of the CIV is that dogs are shedding virus before they start coughing so kennels have no way of knowing if a boarder is potentially infectious by examination alone. We know of at least two other kennels with coughing dogs and this morning heard about a coughing dog that attends Humane Society classes.
We sent a CIV test in on the boarder that was coughing up mucous so we now have a total of three CIV tests pending. That dog had been vaccinated with everything including the available CIV vaccine which protects from the H3N8 strain. So there was no cross protection in his case. We should have those laboratory results in the next couple days and will keep you all posted. We are treating all patients as if this is CIV to avoid taking unnecessary chances. The Diagnostic Lab of the Veterinary Medical Center on the St Paul University campus is running the tests. If it confirms a positive CIV test, it will do further testing to identify what strain it is.
Regardless of CIV vs CIRD, this respiratory disease is spreading quickly and likely to be in the area for some time. The contagiousness of the virus, the weather conditions and the time of year when dogs are out and about will all make the elimination of the disease very difficult. Our recommendations to minimize exposure of your dogs to unknown dogs remain the same. Avoid dog parks and gatherings of dogs if possible. Please call our clinic if you have any questions regarding this disease or these recommendations.
Things are becoming a little worrisome now. We saw one coughing dog Saturday that could be CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or what used to be called kennel cough) but we could not elicit a cough from it. I saw two dogs this morning with classical CIV symptoms: progressive cough, lethargy and nasal discharge. We have submitted cultures on these dogs but we will not know the results for 2-3 days. We are treating them as if it is CIV with cough supressants and antibiotics.
One dog was boarded at local kennel, the other was not boarded but goes to the dog park by the Lake of the Isles frequently. So even if we are talking CIRD and not CIV, there are some nasty, contagious respiratory viruses out there and now is the time you should take extra precautions as to where your dogs go and what other dogs they are exposed to. Remember dogs with the CIV will shed virus before showing clinical signs of problems. So it’s not enough to just keep them away from coughing dogs. You want to minimize contact with dogs you do not know and gatherings of dogs.
The timing of this outbreak cannot be worse with July 4th holiday coming when all the surrounding kennels will be full. No boarding kennel will be able to guarantee that your dog will not be exposed to respiratory diseases. Again, there is no vaccine for the H3N2 CIV virus. The only goods news here is those reported cases of CIV here in Minnesota have responded well to treatment and recovered uneventfully.
We will keep you posted on the latest information at our facilities and the Twin Cities in general. You can sign up for this blog and it will be emailed to you whenever there is a new posting. We will have the results of those tests in a few days and will post them here. I truly hope not to be the first clinic in the Twin Cities to find CIV in the local dog population.
There has been a case of the Canine Influenza Virus confirmed from a St Paul shelter this week. The dog has recovered uneventfully and tests on the other shelter dogs were negative. The Animal Humane Society has posted their information and action here. Everything seems controlled at this time. We have seen a few cases of CIRD (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or what used to be called kennel cough) lately from dogs who have been boarded but still nothing resembling CIV. We are taking all precautions including examining coughing dogs outside so we don’t take a chance of contaminating our clinic or kennel. The tough part about CIV is dogs can shed virus before they start to show clinical signs of illness. The good news is all the dogs that have contracted the disease in Minnesota got over it with symptomatic care so the CIV we are seeing here does not appear to be as pathologic as the one the Chicago area had.
So our recommendations remain the same for now. The CIV has only been found in shelter dogs but it is here now in the Twin Cities so all dog owners must be extra vigilant to protect your pets. You can be sure all dog kennels and gatherings are well aware of the potential problem and are being as careful as they can to prevent viral exposure to your dogs.
There have now been confirmed cases of the H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in northern Minnesota. We received this notice today from the MN Board of Animal Health:
“Recent test results confirm that at least five Minnesota dogs were infected with a new strain of influenza virus called H3N2. All of the dogs were most likely exposed to this new strain of influenza when they visited the Lucky Dog Boarding and Training Center in Detroit Lakes. All of the dogs fully recovered and no new cases have been seen at the facility since April 25th.
The dogs began showing illness on April 7th. They all developed a cough, some ran fevers and some had a cloudy nasal discharge. The animals received various levels of veterinary care from Dr James McCormack at Detroit Lakes Animal Hospital depending on the severity of the illness.
The owner of the facility believes that the virus was introduced when a dog from Yorkville, IL, was brought to the facility on March 30th. The dog showed no signs of illness during the visit, but became ill with signs consistent with influenza shortly after it left. Yorkville is in the greater Chicago are where many cases of H3N2 influenza have been identified in dogs this spring.”
So there now have been cases of the CIV H3N2 in Minnesota but that outbreak now appears controlled. To reiterate information from our last post, the H3N2 strain is believed to have come from Asia. There is no vaccine to date for that virus but there probably will be in the near future. Our recommendation remains the same: be vigilant for any signs of upper respiratory disease in your dogs including coughing, nasal discharge, or lethergy. Infected dogs will shed virus before exhibiting clinical signs so it can be difficult to know which dogs could be potentially infected. The more exposure your dogs have to other dogs, such as dog parks, kennels, day care, dog shows, the greater the possibility of exposure. There have still been no cases reported in the Twin Cities and the Board of Animal Health will let us know if any cases arise in our area.
As a veterinary clinic and boarding facility, we are keenly aware of the clinical signs of the disease and watch all our patients and boarders carefully. We appreciate the faith you have in our doctors and our clinic and remain committed to minimizing risk to all of our animals. We will keep you updated on all the latest information and will make recommendations as needs arise. Please call us if you are concerned or if you see any clinical signs of problems with your dogs. So far it appears that treated early, life threatening risk is minimal with this virus. But this is still a potentially serious disease if left untreated so contact us if you are at all concerned about signs your dogs may be showing.
As many of you have already heard, there is Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) that has now reached the Midwest. Over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area have been diagnosed with Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) which is the new term for “kennel cough”. CIRD is a broad term that covers all causes of canine respiratory disease including bordetellla, parainfluenza and now CIV can be included on the list. Unfortunately, there are different strains of the influenza virus complicating matters even more. This is from Cornell University: “The outbreak in the Midwest had been attributed to the H3N8 strain of the virus, which was identified in the U.S. dog population in 2004 and has been circulating since. The H3N2 virus (found in Chicago) had not been previously detected in North America. The outbreak in Chicago suggests a recent introduction of the H3N2 virus from Asia.” So there is a vaccine for the H3N8 strain of CIV but that strain is not the one that is causing the problems in Chicago.
This information is from the Veterinary Information Network (VIN): “After infection, there is a 2-5 day incubation period. Nasal virus shedding peaks during this time. Clinical signs generally do not become apparent until day 5-7 and in most cases shedding wanes by 7-10 days after infection. Clinical signs are generally very mild to inapparent during peak viral shedding. A soft, moist, sometimes-productive cough is seen. The cough often persists for several weeks, even with appropriate therapy. Dogs may lose their appetite, develop a fever, and produce a pus-like nasal discharge. Up to 10% of dogs may develop a more severe form of illness, with high fever, lethargy (tiredness), rapid breathing, and secondary bronchopneumonia. The fatality rate related to pneumonia/bronchopneumonia is reported to be around 5-8% in selected high-risk populations. After day five, approximately 10-20% of affected dogs are have no symptoms but are still shedding infectious virus.” To see that whole accurate and informative article, use this link: veterinarypartner.com . Unfortunately, this new H3N2 strain has also caused infection and respiratory illness in cats. There is no feline vaccine for this disease.
The good news is there has not been a case of either form of CIV yet reported in Minnesota. As there is no vaccine for the H3N2 strain, it is difficult for us to make vaccine recommendations. Many vets are recommending vaccinating for all the things that we can prevent in the CIRD family including bordetella, parainfluenza, and the H3N8 strain of the CIV. There is some speculation that there could be some cross protection against the H3N2 strain of virus using the H3N8 vaccine but there is no proof of that and it may be wishful thinking. Vaccination is something to consider if your dog comes in contact with many other dogs and is considered at higher risk. Right now that includes those dogs that board, show, do agility, go to dog parks or day care among other things. Avoiding areas where dogs congregate will minimize the risk of being exposed to any of these diseases.
As information and recommendations seem to be changing daily, we will stay on top of this information and keep you posted with accurate information. News outlets love to sensationalize these stories, especially anything that could threaten our pets, so you will probably see those sooner or later. But, again, there has not been a case of either form of CIV reported in Minnesota yet. Until that happens, there is no need to worry about what might happen. Keeping informed and prepared for potential problems is the best course for now.
It is with great regret we announce the future departure of James Bush, our kennel manager for over 14 years. James has always been well liked by staff, clients and, of course, the animals. His thoughtfulness, compassion and friendliness have made him a great manager and a good friend to all. We will miss him dearly and wish him the best of luck in future endeavors.
It will be very hard to replace someone of James’ caliber but we know how important a position it is and will do an extensive search to find the right person or persons with the experience, knowledge and compassion he brought to this job. We appreciate the trust you place in us to provide the best care for your animals and promise to continue that commitment in the future.
This is the time of year when mice start looking for a warm place to winter and people start using rodenticides to stop them from coming into their homes. Infrequently, pets may eat the mouse or rat poison. If you have a pet and must use rodenticides, you need to beware of the different, safer options available for pet owners.The Veterinary Hospital Association recently sent us this bulletin:
Many of you know a neighbor or friend with a pet that ingested rat poising. They took their pet to the Veterinarian and after a lengthy hospital stay and extensive medical treatment the pet was released. This will not be the case anymore.
There are new rodenticides on the market that affect pets differently and unless the pet owner sees the animal ingest it, it may be too late for treatment by the time the animal appears sick.
In 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a decision prohibiting the use of second-generation or long-acting anticoagulants (d-Con) in residential settings. It was an effort to reduce secondary poisoning in wildlife due to bioaccumulation in the livers of predators. Manufacturers became compliant with these new regulations in 2011, with many using bromethalin instead of anticoagulants in their products. There is no test to detect bromethalins presence-and no antidote.
Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and assistant director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline reports that the rapid onset of bromethalin poisoning leaves veterinarians little time for error. “The symptoms come on faster and it’s harder to treat,” Brutlag says. With anticoagulant poisoning, veterinarians had three to five days before bleeding began–maybe a week before death. But with bromethalin, clinical signs associated with CNS edema may be seen within 2 to 24 hours. Once the animal starts showing neurological signs– CNS stimulation or depression, abnormal behavior, ataxia, hyperesthesia, seizures, coma–successful treatment becomes more difficult and more expensive. An animal may have only a couple of days before succumbing.
The Pet Poison Helpline and d-Con both cite the dangers of using a toxin with no known antidote as reason for the EPA to revisit the 2008 regulation standards. Thus far, the regulation has not changed and On May 30th 2014, the manufacturer of d-CON announced that they will comply with EPA mandates by replacing brodifacoum with diphacinone, a first generation anticoagulant. While many first generation anticoagulants, such as the prototype warfarin, are shorter acting, diphacinone is not. This is a good thing. It gives your Veterinarian more time to treat before irreversible damage occurs.
If you HAVE to use a rodenticide, look for one with the active ingredient diphacinone and keep it out of the reach of your pets.
Referenced from DVM360, January 2013 and The Pet Poison Hotline, Published on June 23, 2014
There is a people and dog duathlon in New Brighton on September 13 for those of you who like to run (and swim) with your dogs. It is a fundraiser for BART, the Basic Animal Rescue Training organization. BART is a group of volunteers that train first responders in how to take care of animals encountered in emergency situations. Good people, good stuff.
Dr. Pierce Fleming will be moderating the spay and neuter surgery suite on Thursday August 28th at 2:00 pm and 4:00pm. The surgery suite is located in the Pet Center building. Stop on by and say Hi.