Canine Influenza Virus

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: . 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.

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James Bush to leave PHPH

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.

James Bush

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.

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Pet Owners: Beware of the Different Ingredients of Available Rodenticides

lower_boxesThis 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

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BART Fundraising Dog Duathlon on September 13th


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.

Learn more about the organization here and the duathalon here.

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Dr. Fleming at the Fair

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.

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CIRD, aka Kennel Cough

“Kennel Cough” has been the widely used term for the common cold of dogs. It’s official name is now Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or CIRD. In the last few months we have seen an increasing number of coughing dogs coming to our clinic. This is apparently a new strain of an upper respiratory virus that has become widespread this winter and spring and one that our vaccines may not prevent. This CIRD appears to be moderately contagious and is primarily spread by exposure to other coughing dogs. Highest exposure risk is where multiple dogs associate with one another like dog parks and kennels.  Typically, there is an incubation time from 5-7 days from exposure to the virus before the onset of the clinical signs of which a dry, hacking cough is the most obvious. In the average dog, the disease runs it’s course in a weeks time. To learn more about this disease, visit this page of

Our staff is always watching for any coughing or unhealthy dogs in our facility but despite our vigilance, dogs may come into our facility incubating the virus and showing no clinical signs until after they have been in the kennel for a couple days. Up to now we have dodged that bullet and kept the virus out our facility. But recently we have learned of a few of cases of coughing dogs who do appear have been exposed to it in our kennel.

We are doing everything in our power to minimize risk to our boarders, day care dogs and canine hospital patients. This includes increased cleaning and disinfecting of the environment, runs, floors, bowls, toys, etc. As soon as any coughing dogs are identified or even suspected they will necessarily be isolated from the other dogs to minimize their risk of exposure. We cannot board or hospitalize any coughing dogs, even if they may have caught that virus in our kennel. The only way we can get rid of this virus from our facility is to keep coughing dogs out of the kennel. We appreciate and regret any hardship this may cause our clients and hope this issue can be resolved very soon. But because so many dogs are now affected by this virus, this CIRD could be around for a while. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. Please call our clinic with any other questions or concerns you may have.

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Drop off sites for unneeded prescription drugs


There was an article in the paper recently regarding drop off sites for prescription drugs. It said Hennepin County collected 7 tons of prescribed medicine last year! That is an amazing figure! We often have our clients ask us what to do with their left over and expired medicine. We can not just throw it away or flush it down the toilet anymore. There are many drop off sites around the city. The closest to us is at the government centers at Ridgedale and Brookdale. Here are instructions and a map of Hennepin County drop off sites. Be sure to do the right thing and get rid of unneeded and expired medicine where it can not harm people, animals or the environment.

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Relief from Cat Allergies?

There is a study here in Minnesota being run on a new medication that is supposed to help people suffering from sensitivities to their cat. This is not an endorsement because the company is new and I don’t know what the medication is. But if you are one of many who love their cats but are allergic to them, this might be worth inquiring about. Check out the CATALYST Study here.

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Nice tribute to an old friend

James Lileks wrote a nice tribute to his old dog in today’s Star Tribune. Find that here.

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Red Lake Reservation Clinic

I helped out At the spay/neuter clinic on the Red Lake reservation this week. I posted some pictures in an album over on our facebook page at

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