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Potential case of canine influenza in area

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By Matt Overing
matthew.overing@uky.edu

There may be an outbreak of canine influenza in the Lebanon area.
Dr. Sabra St. Germain at All Paws in Lebanon believes that could be what she has been seeing in some dogs.
"About a month ago, I noticed some cases that were a little confusing," St. Germain said. "The dogs had more discharge from the eyes and nose, a temperature, and they were coughing longer than the usual case of kennel cough. They were just sicker dogs than normal. We didn't lose any, but they were pretty sick."
St. Germain said a worker at the animal shelter said they had seen similar cases of discharge from the eyes and nose.
Different dogs have different symptoms. Some dogs will just have "snivels," other dogs might not show any signs. In severe cases, dogs might vomit or stop eating.
"I tested a couple dogs for canine distemper, that's what I thought they had," St. Germain said. "They didn't have it."
There is a test for canine influenza, but St. Germain said it has not been requested.
"I do not have any diagnoses," she said. "We just have to treat them systematically. I'm suspicious of it... Kennel cough dogs are coughing, but they're not that sick. They'll usually keep on eating. I just think there is something a little different about this."
Her suspicion arises from the aforementioned discharge from the eyes and nose, but also a cough that lasts longer than 10-14 days, or the usual length of kennel cough. According to St. Germain, cough associated with canine influenza can last more than a month.
The disease is contracted from the discharge from coughing. If your dog is coughing but does not have a fever, St. Germain recommended isolating the dog from other dogs.
If the outbreak of canine influenza is legitimate, St. Germain said the next step would be to vaccinate dogs that are outside or are in contact with other dogs. Inside dogs need not worry.
"If you're going to get your dog groomed a lot, or if you're taking it to the dog park or hiking, those kinds of situations, you should get the vaccine," St. Germain said. "I wanted to know if anybody besides me and the shelter had noticed this in town. They might have picked up on a few cases like this, maybe not. All these dogs that I saw were either from the shelter or recently were like a stray. They were out in the dog population where they could be exposed."