VCA Briarcliff Animal Hospital
By Cathy Carter
Published: January 12, 2010

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Recently, we’ve been getting questions from some of our pet owners about a new dog virus called canine influenza. They were concerned about stories they had seen or read in the news about dog flu outbreaks. In answering their questions, we realized that all of our dog owners may have similar questions and concerns. So we’re writing to tell you about canine influenza, what puts dogs at risk, and what can be done to protect them.

Canine influenza is a respiratory disease that can cause coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, loss of energy, and/or loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs, but the coughing caused by canine influenza can last for several weeks. With proper care, most dogs generally recover. However, canine influenza can lead to more severe or even life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia, and has been fatal in up to 8% of cases. Because canine influenza is caused by a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. And since it’s highly contagious, visiting places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, doggie daycares, dog parks, or groomers, puts dogs at higher risk for catching this new virus. Making things more difficult is the fact that dogs can spread the virus before the coughing and other signs of sickness appear.

The best way to protect your dog from canine influenza is through vaccination. Fortunately, the USDA has issued the first conditional license for a vaccine that aids in the control of disease caused by canine influenza. A conditional license is issued to meet a special circumstance such as the emergence of a new virus for which there is no existing vaccine. Like the human flu vaccine, the new canine influenza vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection, but it can dramatically reduce the severity of the disease. The vaccine also significantly reduces the amount of virus that dogs shed, minimizing spread to other dogs—so it’s the ideal way to protect our local canine community as well.

We recommend vaccinating dogs against canine influenza and have vaccine available. Please call us to discuss any questions you might have or to set up an appointment. To give your dog the most complete protection, the initial vaccination requires two doses of vaccine given 2 to 4 weeks apart, followed by a single booster dose given annually.

We are also always available to answer any questions you may have.

If you’d like to read more about canine influenza, please visit www.doginfluenza.com

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

See all VCA Animal Hospitals >

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with Affiliated Veterinary Emergency Center they are located across the street from us at 3444 Southside Blvd. Suite 101 Jacksonville, FL 32216. Their contact number is 904-642-5911. If you are located closer to Beach Blvd please contact Emergency & Critical Care Pet Hospital located at 14185-7 Beach Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32250. Their contact number is 904-223-8000.

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