Animal Rescue: Louisiana is at risk as dog flu outbreak spreads _lowres

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Canine influenza A H3N2 started making headlines across the country in April, after an estimated 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area tested positive for the virus. Since then, it has spread to 10 more states. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Louisiana. However, cases have been reported in Texas and Alabama.

H3N2 is a virus that causes dog flu, a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is treated with lots of fluids, rest and antibiotics for any accompanying bacterial illnesses, but for the most part, it simply must run its course. Most dogs make a full recovery, and the fatality rate is less than 3 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the H3N2 canine influenza virus is a bird flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is genetically different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. Canine influenza A H3N2 virus was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007. The first confirmed case in the United States was in April. It is not known how canine H3N2 virus was introduced into the United States. There is no evidence that this canine flu can be transferred to humans, and it is unlikely that it can transfer to other species of companion animals, such as cats.

Dog owners need to know:

  • There are no confirmed cases in Louisiana.
  • The virus is very contagious and spreads from direct contact between dogs.
  • Symptoms may include fever, runny nose, coughing, lack of energy or lethargy and decreases in appetite. Depending on the level of severity, there may be no symptoms at all or it could develop into pneumonia.

    Puppies and older dogs are more at risk of infection; however, all dogs are susceptible to infection.

    Caution should always be taken when a dog is exposed to unfamiliar dogs in settings such as a park, daycare or boarding facility.

    If someone has questions or concerns or suspects that their pet may be displaying flu like symptoms, a vet should be contacted immediately.

Events

COCKTAIL FOR A CAUSE: The Louisiana SPCA will receive 20 percent of the proceeds when customers request the special Six-Toed Cat cocktail during the month of June at Ralph’s on the Park, 900 City Park Ave., New Orleans. For information, visit www.la-spca.org.

YAPPY HOUR: The Louisiana SPCA will receive 15 percent of the proceeds when customers mention “Yappy Hour” from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays at the Courtyard at Rare Form, 437 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans. There will be live music, and fresh water and treats will be provided for pups while owners enjoy $1 off craft cocktails. For information, visit www.rareformnola.com.

PUPPY SOCIAL TIME: Owners of puppies can kick-start or continue their socialization during 30-minute puppy socials beginning at 10:30 a.m. June 7 and June 14 at Deutsches Haus, 1023 Ridgewood Drive, Metairie. The $10 fee is waived for Louisiana SPCA Puppy Manners students. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/training.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, email molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois @jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, email cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@ gmail.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.