Recently there were two confirmed cases of Canine Influenza in Stamford, CT, but it’s been known that the danger of this virus has been increasing in our state for some time, so there are likely to be additional cases that have not yet been identified or reported. As with the human strain of influenza the major concerns are that the virus changes and becomes resistant to current treatments, in addition to the fact that it spreads fast through even minimal contact and proximity to dogs that are sick. That causes concern for locations like doggy day care facilities, veterinary hospitals, and dog parks, but even exposure on the streets can occur.
While the concern over the spread of Canine Influenza is high, it’s important to note that treatments are available, and as with most wellness aspects, early detection is the key. The recovery rate for dogs that do come down with Canine Influenza is over 90%, and in many of the cases where dogs unfortunately did not survive, there were underlining conditions that added to the health issues. As with many forms of Influenza, preventative measures can go a long way, and the virus itself isn’t very “hearty” so assuring that surfaces are cleaned well is best. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge, and if your dog shows any of these you should have them seen by a veterinarian – however, it is suggested that you call your veterinarian before bringing your dog in, as they may be handling these cases differently to assure the spread of the virus.
Equine Enteric Coronavirus has been on the rise in recent years in our area of the Northeast and was identified recently at a horse show held at the Big E in Springfield, Ma. Similarly to Canine Influenza, the symptoms of Coronavirus in horses include fever (102+), depression, inappetance, and sometimes diarrhea and colic. . Coronavirus is highly infectious so as soon as any symptoms are seen – even before tests have been confirmed – taking immediate precautions to prevent the possibility of spreading is vital. It is It’s spread by the fecal oral route and barns need to limit traffic into and out of their property, institute cleaning protocols and use disinfectant footbaths, individual thermometers for each horse, and disposable gloves for handling all horses. If a horse is confirmed to have the virus, isolation protocols should be enough to control the spread among other horses. Minimize the number of people who handle infected horses, and only utilize use separate equipment for them from the rest of the barn. Assure decontamination methods are used before any equipment or items from infected horses are returned to use in other areas of the barn.
For more detailed information on barn biosecurity related to Coronavirus check out the AAEP Guidelines at: https://aaep.org/horsehealth/understanding-coronavirus