With the current news of Swine Flu spreading and Government publicity to reduce the possible impact of a human flu pandemic it is a timely reminder as to how infectious disease threats change over time.
Fortunately the strains responsible for most human infections do not appear to cause disease in dogs and cats.
Cases of canine influenza in the USA neither represent a significant human health risk nor (so far) appear to have been responsible for significant disease outbreaks in dogs in the UK or Europe. Despite this good news there is clearly potential for an emerging problem. Animal Health researchers in the UK remain vigilant in case the situation changes.
How can I protect my dog against respiratory disease?
Respiratory disease in dogs is typically referred to as “kennel cough” is one of the commonest infectious problems seen in dogs – and not just those that visit kennels. The problem is so widespread because of its highly infectious nature making the disease hard to avoid. The disease is often most severe in puppies, older dogs and those with another illness or depressed immunity. A range of infectious agents may be responsible although Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most significant cause.
Whilst routine vaccination may provide protection against some of the more minor causes, protection against the most significant trigger, Bordetella, as well as a significant viral cause, canine parainfluenza, is available with an additional intra-nasal vaccine. In most dogs the vaccine is simple to give as drops up the nose giving 12 months protection. We recommend kennel cough vaccine not just for dogs prior to visiting kennels but also for dogs that mix or congregate with others at anytime during the year.