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    Greyhound Racing CANINE INFLUENZA
    Posted byadmin on Wednesday, April 02 @ 11:48:59 EDT
    Contributed by admin

    Canine Influenza:  The Greyhound’s Guide to a Speedy Recovery

    The winter of 2007-2008 was one of the harshest in Iowa’s history.  The constant cold weather tested the strength of much of the population, and greyhounds were no exception.  The fun of bounding through the snow was dampened by severe cold.  With racing season almost under way, many are concerned about canine influenza.

     



    Symptoms appear 2-5 days after exposure.  Symptoms of canine influenza include listlessness, decreased appetite, and a soft, moist cough which lasts from 10-30 days.  Some dogs develop a dry cough; canine influenza is often misdiagnosed as kennel cough.  Dogs infected with canine influenza may also secrete a thick nasal discharge, the result of a secondary bacterial infection.  Although rare, dogs can acquire a more severe form of the disease and demonstrate pneumonia-like symptoms.

    Luckily, with tender loving care, plenty of fluids, and adequate nutrition, canine influenza will usually clear up on its own.  An antibiotic may be required to cure any bacterial infections.  Dogs that have had canine influenza develop immunity rather quickly.  However, since it is a new relatively new disease, dogs that have not had it have little to no natural immunity. Like most flu strains, it is highly contagious, but has a very low fatality rate of 5%-8%.  Currently a vaccine is not available, so the best treatment is to take supportive measures.
        
    Both direct and indirect contacts with afflicted canines cause the disease to be transmitted.  The same way the flu travels through an office via coughs, tissues, and contaminated surfaces canine flu spreads through the greyhound community via direct animal contact, shared food and water, and “borrowed” chew toys. There is no evidence that humans acquire canine influenza, but humans can cause cross-contamination through secondary contact.  Sterilization of surfaces, sanitation of toys, and the washing of hands and boots are highly effective in preventing the spread of canine flu.  Infected dogs should be isolated and the veterinarian contacted.  

    Though canine influenza is a relatively new virus, first identified in 2004, it is a mutated strain of equine influenza, which has been observed in horses for more than forty years.  Hopefully a vaccine will be available soon.  Until then, rest, relaxation, and good hygiene will keep the tails wagging and the flu at bay.

    For more information, please visit these websites:
    American Veterinary Medical Association – www.avma.org
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov/healthypets
    Iowa Department of Agriculture – www.iowaagriculture.gov  
      
    Compiled by Sarah Albracht
    Horse and Dog Breeding Bureau
    Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship



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