Last week the story broke about dog flu, or canine influenza virus (CIV), affecting 2 dogs in the South Bay. Since then, more cases of suspected (but so far not confirmed) dog flu have been reported. Of course, we’re relieved that the vast majority of the impacted dogs seem to be on their way to recovery, but we wanted to use this opportunity to remind all the campers what dog flu is and what we’re doing to prevent it at Pet Camp.
Dog flu has been around for many years. It was originally detected in Florida and spread around the East Coast and the Mid-West, especially in Chicago. Recently, within the last year or so, there have been isolated cases in the Los Angeles area and in Sacramento, but California and particularly the Bay Area have largely avoided the dog flu. While not contagious to humans, the dog flu is spread among dogs the same way the human flu is spread: close contact with an infected dog. So, just like a human, this means your dog can catch the dog flu anywhere there are multiple dogs: the dog park, walking down the street, the groomers, the veterinarian’s lobby, and of course at overnight or day care.
So, what is Pet Camp doing about it? First, we’ve always prided ourselves on the amount of fresh air we have at Pet Camp. Our play areas are all outside so there is plenty of fresh air and the best disinfectant there is: the Ultra Violet (UV) rays of the sun. We’ve brought that inside as well by providing a complete air turnover every 4.5 minutes and having six UV germicidal light air cleaners spread out around Pet Camp. Of course, we augment all of that with our own cleaning and disinfecting.
But there are things you can do, too. First, consider getting your dog vaccinated against the flu (you got your flu vaccine, didn’t you?). Yes, it’s true that just like our flu vaccine, the dog flu vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s way better than no vaccine at all! While Pet Camp doesn’t currently require the CIV/dog flu vaccine, we are in constant communication with local veterinarians, and based on their suggestions we may soon start requiring the CIV/dog flu vaccine just like we require other vaccines. More and more San Francisco veterinarians have the CIV/dog flu vaccine available.
Second, if your dog is displaying any upper respiratory issues like coughing, keep him or her away from other dogs until you’ve have a conversation with your veterinarian. Just like you don’t like it when a colleague comes to work sick, think about how the dogs must feel when a human brings them a sick dog to play with.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more, and if you have any questions please reach out to us.
Thanks for reading.