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4 Winter Weather Do’s and Don’ts for Dog Owners

If you live in a cold region, winter is a time to be mindful of possible dangers. The ice, snow, and cold bring a multitude of hazards that could jeopardize your pet’s well-being. Because some endangerments may be overlooked, be mindful of circumstances that may put your furry best friend at risk. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep your pet safe and healthy.

1. DO Provide Winter Outwear For Your Dog

J ust as humans need protection from the cold and windy winter weather, pets do as well. If you have a short-haired dog, provide your dog with canine outerwear when outside on a cold day. Dog sweaters and coats can help keep the chill away. Equally important, give your dog’s paws some attention and care.

Most sidewalks and walking paths will be covered in salt when snow and ice as an issue. The ice and salt can cause irritation to your dog’s paws. Ice and salt often become trapped between toes. If your pet tries to lick these particles off, he or she may be sickened from the chemicals in ice melt.

What is the best defense against such wintertime hazards to canine paws? Simply fit your furry companion with specially designed dog booties or snow boots. You may find dog boots at your pet shop or ask your veterinarian for advice.

When choosing dog boots for winter, be sure they have anti-slip soles with a texture to them. You should also choose a material that is water resistant, and be sure you obtain the correct size and fit.

2. DON’T Allow Access Rover to Frozen Ponds or Lakes

While this seems like an obvious no-no for pets and humans alike, sometimes the overly rambunctious dog slips away while frolicking outdoors. An icy pond may be an attraction for some dogs who want to reach the other side or simply investigate.

If you know of a frozen pond or lake nearby, keep your dog restrained and off the ice. Even without the ice breaking, a dog could slip and slide, straining muscles or becoming injured in some way. If the thin ice breaks under the weight of your dog, results could be tragic for your pet as well as the human trying to perform a rescue.

3. DO Recognize the Signs and First Aid Treatment of Frostbite

If your dog has somehow been exposed to the cold, you should know the symptoms of frostbite and how to perform necessary first aid. Check your dog’s tail, ears, and paws for redness, discoloration, and swelling. If the skin starts to slough away, frostbite could be advancing.

If you know of a frozen pond or lake nearby, keep your dog restrained and off the ice. Even without the ice breaking, a dog could slip and slide, straining muscles or becoming injured in some way. If the thin ice breaks under the weight of your dog, results could be tragic for your pet as well as the human trying to perform a rescue.

4. DON’T Let Your Dog Near the Fireplace or Heaters

Just as you enjoy snuggling up to a warm, cozy fire during cold weather, your pet may find comfort in doing the same. Pets do not always recognize the danger of fire, which is why you need to be careful. Sparks and embers from the fireplace could land on your dog, causing harmful burns. Place some type of gate or hearth cover in front of the fireplace when in use to prevent your pet from gaining access.

Also, don’t allow your dog to get close to the electric space heater which may be another burn hazard. In addition, your dog may knock the heater over, and this could result in an accidental fire.

If your dog experiences any wintertime injury or illness that does not respond to at-home care, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy for Life

From designer dog food to the best toys your pet store has to offer, you are a responsible dog parent who would do anything for the furriest member of your family. This care includes taking them to a yearly veterinary appointment and making sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations. However, there is an integral aspect of caring for your dog you might be overlooking: their dental health.

CANINE INFLUENZA – A Summary of What We Know Now

Canine Influenza (CIV) is caused by the Influenza A virus.  The first stain H3N8 was discovered in Florida in 2004.  According to Dr. Kevin Snekvik at WSU/CVM-WADDL, the Influenza A H3N8 virus specific to dogs originated in horses and evolved over the last 40 years before jumping species. The virus continued to mutate till it was able to transmit between dogs.  By 2004 H3N8 had mutated to a dog specific virus. A second Influenza A strain H3N2 was discovered in Chicago in 2015. This strain is closely related to the Asian strain of Influenza which has been in wide circulation in the Chinese and South Korean dog populations since at least 2006. The H3N2 strain was thought to come in from Korea to Chicago’s O’Hare International airport in 2015.  

Unlike the Human Influenza Virus, CIV occurs year round.  There is no evidence of cross infection between dogs and people.  CIV is not related to Avian Influenza virus.  There does appear to be cross infection between dogs and cats. 

 

EPIDEMIOLOGY

CIV infection resembles Canine Infectious Bronchitis (Kennel Cough).  CIV is highly contagious since most dogs have never seen the virus.  CIV is easily spread between dogs through contact; nasal secretions via barking, sneezing or coughing; contaminated objects such as, kennel surfaces, food & water bowls, collars & leashes; and by people moving between infected and non-infected dogs.  High risk areas for spread of the CIV are areas where dogs congregate, such as, doggie day care & boarding kennels; grooming facilities; dog parks; dog shows & sporting events; and public common areas. 

 

CLINICAL SIGNS

Clinical signs may be mild or sever.  Clinical signs may include: a new and/or persistent cough lasting several days; thick nasal & eye discharge; sneezing; reduced appetite; fever-often 104-105; and increase respiratory rate.  Some dogs may not show any signs of illness, but can shed the virus to other dogs for up to 3 weeks.  Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks, but secondary bacterial infections can lead to a more sever illness like pneumonia.

 

DIAGNOSIS

CIV can be diagnosed by testing a nasal or throat swab (PCR Testing) if diagnosed within 3 days of illness. The most accurate test requires a blood test taken during the first week and again 2 weeks later (paired serology tests on acute and convalescent samples).

Dogs are most contagious during the first 2-4 day incubation period of the CIV.  These infected dogs are shedding the CIV in their nasal secretions for up to 3 days but are not showing clinical signs.   80-90 % of all the dogs exposed to these infected dogs will become infected (morbidity rate) and develop flu symptoms.  The mortality rate is less than 10%-usually causing death in immune-compromised or geriatric dogs.

 

TREATMENT

Treatment is largely supportive care and treatment of any secondary bacterial infection.

 

 

PREVENTION

Isolating all sick dogs, dogs exposed to an infected dog and those dogs showing respiratory signs, can reduce the spread of CIV.  The CIV does not survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and is inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.  Good hygiene (hand washing) and sanitation (through cleaning of feeding & watering bowls and kennels) will reduce the spread of CIV.

Keeping your dog updated with their Core vaccinations, including Bordetella (Kennel Cough) is extremely important.

There is a vaccine against the first strain of H3N8 CIV.  The vaccine may not completely prevent infection (no vaccine is 100% protective!), but it appears to reduce the severity, duration of illness, length of time an infected dog sheds the virus in its secretion, and amount of virus being shed.

It is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides protection against the new 2015 strain H3N2.  The USDA has given a conditional licensing to Zoetis and Merck for a H3N2 CIV vaccine. 

The AVMA’s current recommendation for vaccination against CIV is- as follows: “CIV vaccination is a Lifestyle Vaccination recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs-such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks”

 

CIV-THE SEATTLE STORY

In December 2015, a boarding kennel in Kent had a respiratory illness outbreak.  Initially, it was thought these dogs had kennel cough.  So far, testing has confirmed 4 of these dogs had CIV H3N2 infections.  There have been no other confirmed cases of CIV in Washington.  At this time, CIV cases have been confirmed in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, and Alabama and now Washington.  The list of states is growing.

For further updates, consult the AVMA website under Pet Owner’s Guide for Canine Influenza or the WSVMA website.  If you are concerned about your dog’s exposure risk, contact your veterinarian to discuss vaccination status and possible risk factors.  If your dog has signs of respiratory disease, isolate your dogs and contact your veterinarian.

Stay tuned!

Leptospirosis

With the nice weather approaching, many of us are enthusiastically planning our outdoor summer activities with the dogs. This usually includes some hiking and camping trips, making it a good time to review a potential pathogen many of us don’t think about-Leptospirosis. It is a disease caused by Leptospira (Lepto) bacteria found in livestock and wildlife including deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rats, and other rodents. These animals shed the bacteria via their urine into water sources where they reside.

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Kenmore Veterinary Hospital
6630 NE 181st St.
Kenmore, WA
98028-4852

425-485-6575

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