Thursday, April 16, 2015


The Chicago area is experiencing a serious outbreak of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD).  It has affected over 1,000 dogs and many have tested positive for Canine Influenza. Most recent testing indicates that this is most likely an Asian strain of the flu H3N2 which has previously not been detected in the U.S. The virus that had first been identified in the U.S. in 2004 is H3N8 for which there is a vaccine that we administer at Lincolnton Animal Hospital. We offer the vaccine to all canine patients but have mostly recommended it to patients who travel with their owners, are boarded, or go to a grooming facility. We do not know if the current influenza vaccine will provide any protection from the Asian flu strain. The vaccine is a two shot series with the second vaccine given two to three weeks after the first. Yearly boosters are then administered.
Both strains of the flu can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. The cough is persistent and dry and could be described as a honking sound from your dog’s throat. Some dogs may gag or cough up a white, foamy phlegm.  Canine influenza is a fairly new virus to which dogs have no natural immunity. Cases have been reported in over 30 states and the virus is easily transmitted by direct contact, cough or sneeze, or via contaminated surfaces. It can progress to pneumonia in up to 20% of cases and is fatal in up to 8%. Infected dogs can shed the virus (are contagious) before their first clinical signs appear.

Your dog is at greater risk for infection if it:
 -came from a shelter, rescue center, breeding kennel, or pet store
 -boards at a kennel or goes to doggie daycare
 -attends group training or “dog kindergarten”
 -visits a groomer, dog park, or engages with other dogs on daily walks
 -enters dog events
 -comes into contact with other dogs in the waiting room during visits to your veterinary clinic.

If your dog is showing symptoms, you should isolate it from other dogs and call your veterinarian immediately. If your dog is healthy, you should discuss with your vet to determine if the Canine Influenza and Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines are appropriate for your dog.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Heartworm Disease

Wherever mosquitoes fly, the risk that your dog or cat will contract heartworms exists. 
 As the spring temperatures rise and spring showers arrive, the ideal environment for mosquito breeding is created and the risk of heartworm transmission increases.
One infected mosquito is all it takes. 
Unfortunately, a mosquito can pick up the infection from any of the following; dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, and foxes.  All are known hosts to the parasite.
Maintaining a year round prevention program is the key to keeping your pet heartworm free. 
 If your pet is not on prevention, please call the office today to request an appointment to see your veterinarian.
For more information on heartworm disease please go to the following website,