Dog Health Alert

The health of our pets and families is a priority for all of us. Having social experiences is part of being a healthy dog. Just like humans, whenever dogs come into contact with other members of their own species, there is a risk.

You may have read recent news about the dog flu. We have posted before on this subject but this is the latest update. There was a small local outbreak in the LA area last month (approx 35 dogs). Last week there were reports of dogs who contracted the flu at an AKC Conformation Event in Georgia. None of these have affected our local area.

The flu consists of several strains of a virus. Here is an article on the backstory of the flu and its symptoms.

There are many online sources with varying opinions on the efficacy of the vaccine for the dog flu.  Some vaccines carry more strains than others.  Ultimately you should discuss the vaccine with your own veterinarian.  Wags & Wiggles does not currently require the flu vaccine in order to attend our facilities but it is recommended.

There are many viruses that can go around our community and most people lump them all together calling them “Kennel Cough”.   Recently, the Corona Virus flooded the Orange County area.  It was first reported at dog parks and quickly made it’s way to all the local boarding facilities.  The Corona Virus comes in 2 strains, one affects respiratory and one affects the intestines.  The intestinal variety has a vaccine but is no longer recommended by most vets.  The respiratory variety does not have a vaccine.

Most of the symptoms of these viruses and the flu are similar:  sneezing, coughing, discharge, and sometimes fever or diarrhea.  It is important to take any symptom seriously and get medical help.  Some dogs will develop secondary infections that can be much more serious, like pneumonia.  Pneumonia can be very tricky as a mild cold with almost no symptoms can turn into pneumonia with very little warning.  Why one dog develops a mild cold and another develops a serious illness is not known.  It’s up to the individual immune system,  prior history, stress level, age and a strong link to quality of diet.

Of the 5000 dogs we saw in April 2017, approximately 39 dogs reported symptoms of the Corona Virus.  That is less than 1% of our client base.  Wags & Wiggles keeps detailed logs of dogs with symptoms and attendance records.

How does Wags & Wiggles know it was the Corona Virus and not the Dog Flu?  Whenever a virus enters our community, Wags & Wiggles will pay to have a PCR blood panel done on an affected dog.  This tells us the origin of the virus.

The reasons why daycares and boarding facilities are at risk of spreading viruses is due to the close contact between the dogs, it has very little to do with the facility itself.  The dogs wrestle and play, exchanging saliva.  Wags & Wiggles reduces the risk by using veterinary grade cleaning products and having extensive cleaning protocols including using a chemical fogging agent at night.  Most viruses won’t survive in the environment for long.

The most complicated element to preventing the spread of viruses in a group environment is dogs who carry and shed the virus but are asymptomatic.  Wags & Wiggles has a very intense screening process for dogs who enter our facility and isolation of any dog showing signs of illness.  However, there could be a dark horse in our midst that no one can control or predict.

The moral of the story is to pay attention to your dog after social experiences.  Be on the look out for the smallest changes in their demeanor and then investigate further to see if medical intervention is needed.  Sometimes all you will hear is a sneeze or a cough in the morning or before bed.

Wags & Wiggles will always be on the hunt for the latest information that affects our local dog community.  We have strong ties with the veterinary community who warn us and keep us safe.  We will always post notices at the front desk when a virus is going around our community, whether we have seen cases or not.

Please do your part.

  • Keep sick dogs at home for at least 3 weeks after symptoms are gone
  • If your dog has been in contact with a sick dog (dog park or friend’s dog), keep your dog at  home for 3 weeks
  • If your dog has been traveling, keep them home for 7days prior to coming back to Wags & Wiggles
  • If your dog doesn’t visit Wags & Wiggles often, consider a natural immune booster
  • If your dog stresses during boarding, bring a natural stress reducer for us to give during the stay
  • Be sure to update your emergency contact information with Wags & Wiggles when you are away
  • Be informed as to the policies of your doggie daycare.  Just like kids schools, treatment for illnesses will be the responsibility of the pet owner.  You can refer to our service contract.

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