608-834-8118    |    1512 N. Bristol St. Sun Prairie, WI 53590    |    Mon - Fri 8 AM - 6 PM


Canine Influenza Information

Canine Influenza (CI), also known as ‘dog flu’ is an influenza virus that was first recognized as a novel canine disease in 2004. The initial cases involved racing Greyhounds in Florida; since that time there have been cases recorded in 30 states, with the disease now recognized as endemic (meaning it is now a commonly noted disease) in parts of Colorado, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Similar to other influenza viruses, CI has been classified based on its unique structure; the CI that is responsible for the current outbreak is labeled H3N8. Unlike other influenza viruses (like H1N1 in people), the canine influenza virus does not appear to have the ability to infect other species at this time. There is another distinct canine influenza (H3N2) that has been identified in Asia; there are no reports of H3N2 outside of Asia and no reports of H3N8 outside of the United States.

CI is a particularly difficult disease to contain because it is extremely easy to transmit from dog-to-dog. The virus is transmitted through the respiratory secretions of infected dogs as well as through contaminated objects. This virus will remain alive and potentially infectious on hard surfaces for 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. An infected dog is potentially contagious to other dogs for several days before ever showing symptoms. Because of this, outbreaks are typically swift and severe, with virtually all non-vaccinated exposed dogs expected to become infected.

Once exposed, most dogs (about 80%) will show symptoms; the other 20% that do not can still transmit the virus. Most dogs (over 90%) will show only mild symptoms of CI. Mild cases will typically show a cough that persists 10 – 21 days despite antibiotics and cough suppressants, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, lethargy, and a decrease in appetite. The cough that is seen can be a dry hacking cough or a more moist productive cough. A small percentage of infected dogs (less than 10%) will show a severe form of the disease, which includes pneumonia, high grade fever (usually from 104° to 106° F), and rapid breathing. In approximately 2% of infected dogs, the disease has been fatal. There is no specific treatment for CI. Severe cases benefit from hospitalization for supportive care (which could include nutritional support, oxygen therapy, IV antibiotics, among other things); mild cases will frequently convalesce and recover at home with nursing care from the owner.

There is a vaccine available for H3N8 Canine Influenza. This vaccine may not prevent infection completely, but is has been shown to be very effective at reducing the severity and duration of the illness. Additionally, the vaccine has shown to reduce the amount of virus that is transmitted from a patient as well as the duration of time that the virus is transmitted. Dogs that have access to other dogs in a social or working situation (dogs that visit dog parks, dog care care, dogs that are kenneled or boarded, show dogs or dogs that compete in agility or other competitions) are considered at risk and the use of this vaccine should be considered for them.

By |April 8th, 2015||

What is heartworm disease and why is the preventative medication recommended to be used year-round?

Heartworm disease is a parasitic condition caused by infestation with the worm dirofilaria immmitis. This parasite is spread from infected dogs through mosquito bites. Heartworm disease is prevalent in Wisconsin due to our location in the United States and our high mosquito population in the warmer months. Heartworm disease is found in many states through the United States; it is more prevalent in states that border the Mississippi river and in the Southeast. Due to the fact that mosquitoes are the carrier for this disease, all dogs are at risk for this disease regardless of lifestyle, including ‘indoor’ dogs, hunting dogs, and farm dogs.

Heartworm disease can be treated, but the cost of the treatment is high and there is a risk to the patient even with successful treatment. Because of this, prevention of the disease is considered a better option for our canine family members. Prevention is done though the use of monthly preventatives that are given year-round. Year-round use of heartworm preventatives is recommended for many reasons. First, it eliminates the need to try to time the medication to coincide with the onset of the emergence of mosquitoes. Second, monthly use of the preventatives is easier to remember and reduces the chances of missed doses. Last, the monthly heartworm preventatives protect against intestinal parasites as well, which are a year-round problem.

Annual testing for heartworms is recommended by most of the veterinary medical organizations nationwide, including the American Veterinary Medical association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the American Heartworm Society. The use of the preventatives in a dog that is positive for heartworms can cause serious medical complications and should be avoided. Juvenile dogs (less than 6 months of age) are frequently started on heartworm prevention without testing.

The Sun Prairie Pet Clinic has many options for heartworm testing and prevention. All of these options are reviewed with the veterinarian annually and recommendations are made based on your pet’s lifestyle, age, and concurrent medical conditions. Please feel free to contact our Clinic with any questions regarding heartworm disease and prevention.

By |September 14th, 2013||

I have been told that my dog is allergic. Is there an ideal treatment for this condition?

Allergies in dogs are a common finding in a wide variety of breeds. Allergic disease can appear at any time, but it is more prevalent in warmer months.

When seen, allergies can have a number of different symptoms depending on the type of allergy a dog has. Possible symptoms include itching and scratching, skin infections and other skin irritations, ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting, and changes in the coat, among many others. Because of the many different symptoms, it can be challenging to determine the root cause of these problems.

Testing to determine if your dog is allergic may include various tests on the skin and coat such as skin scrapes, examination of hair and skin cells under a microscope, or evaluating biopsies of skin samples. Often a diagnosis of allergies can be made in the office but if needed, more advanced testing can be sought from a specialist in veterinary dermatology.

Treatment for allergies can be frustrating, and often requires ongoing treatment for the life of the dog. Treatment options are wide and include dietary modification, oral medications, topical medications, non-traditional therapies such as chiropractic or acupuncture, dietary supplements, shampoos, or hyposensitization injections.

All of the diagnostic and therapeutic options will be reviewed with you prior to initiating a treatment plan for your dog. Optimal treatment is different for each dog and may even change based on the time of year. Despite these challenges, successful treatment for allergies in dog can be achieved through careful planning and creating a diagnostic and therapeutic plan to fit each patient.

If you have additional questions regarding allergies in your dog, please contact us through the Contact Us option on our web site or call our office at 608-834-8118.


By |September 14th, 2013||