As you may already know, the canine influenza virus (CIV) or dog flu has made its way to the Bay Area. We want to provide you with both background information on the dog flu as well as what we’re doing about it at Pet Camp.
The dog flu was first detected in the U.S. in April 2015 in Florida, and subsequently made its way up to the East Coast, through the Midwest, and most recently hit Northern California for the first time. The dog flu is asymptomatic for 2 to 7 days, but even when a dog is not displaying any symptoms, he or she can still be highly contagious. Because the dog flu is new to the Bay Area, our dogs have no natural immunity and, sadly, most of the dogs exposed to the dog flu will get sick. Of the sick dogs most recover on their own or with antibiotics to ward off secondary infection. However, a small percentage of cases may develop into pneumonia. You can get more in-depth information from the CDC or Cornell University websites or from the summary document prepared by veterinarian Dr. Laura Weis.
From February 11th through the 14th, we had a dog at Pet Camp that displayed no dog flu symptoms. Because this dog was symptom free, she was allowed to participate in all dog group play activities. We later learned that this dog tested positive for the dog flu on February 17th. We subsequently learned that between 10 to 13 dogs that stayed at Pet Camp from February 14th to 18th have also tested positive for the dog flu. We’ve also received some reports of additional undetermined upper respiratory problems. To our knowledge all those dogs are recovering and doing well.
We know that the idea of your dog catching the dog flu is unnerving and we’ve taken a series of steps to protect your dog while at Pet Camp:
- We have temporarily stopped all playgroups: all dogs are getting individual VIP playtimes by counselors to ensure that they get plenty of attention and an opportunity to burn off energy, but we are not allowing dogs to socialize/play with each other. No matter what else we are doing, once a dog is nose-to-nose with another there is nothing we can do to prevent the spread of an airborne virus.
- Any dog displaying symptoms characteristic of dog flu is immediately taken to their veterinarian.
- We have divided our building into three areas: (1) healthy dogs; (2) dogs that are being monitored for symptoms; (3) dogs that might have coughed or seem “out of sorts” before or after being seen by their veterinarian.
- Only one counselor who is dressed in scrubs, disposable gloves, and rubber boots (that can be easily disinfected) is permitted to enter the areas designated for monitoring.
- We have spoken with local veterinarians and national experts on dog flu and reviewed all of our operations with them. We have received their support for how we are addressing the situation.
- Because the virus can live on a surface for 24 to 48 hours, after thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting each campsite, we are leaving it vacant for at least 48 hours to ensure that any possible residual virus is killed.
- As suggested by Merck pharmaceutical, the manufacturer of the first bivalent CIV vaccine, we have installed clear bio barriers around each campsite that allow us to monitor each dog while ensuring that no airborne viruses leaves their immediate area.
- We are proactively communicating with past & incoming clients.
- We have spoken with several of our competitors so they are aware to not accept any of our clients who may have recently stayed with us.
In addition to the steps we have taken, we recommend:
- If your dog is displaying any symptoms – keep them away from all other dogs.
- Contact your vet immediately if you become concerned about the symptoms that your dog is displaying.
- Get your dog vaccinated & encourage your dog friends to do the same.
We know that this entire thing is very upsetting and scary – no one wants their dog to be sick. We hope that the above provides you with confidence that we are doing everything we can to protect your dog. Of course, if you have any questions, suggestions on what else we could be doing, want us to speak with your veterinarian or anything else that will help get our community through this difficult period please let us know. Like you, we care first and foremost about the health and safety of your dog and want to make sure we are doing everything possible to ensure that.
All the counselors appreciate your support,