Due to the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza throughout the Midwest, Westgate Pet Clinic is now recommending that all dogs that go to dog parks, kennels, and dog shows be immunized against Canine Influenza.
It is important to know that there are now two strains of the canine influenza virus documented in the United States. For the past decade, the only known canine influenza virus type was strain H3N8. The Chicago influenza outbreak was determined to be a new variant of the virus, type H3N2. H3N2 is thought to have been brought to the United States from Asia. H3N2 influenza outbreaks have been seen cropping up throughout the Midwest, including most recently in St. Paul, MN. There is currently no vaccine available for strain H3N2. We only have a vaccine available for strain H3N8. We are hopeful that the H3N8 flu vaccine will offer some immunity to the H3N2 virus.
Here are some important facts about Canine flu:
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the flu virus is highly contagious. "Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%)." Dogs that are very young, very old, and immune compromised dogs are at higher risk of complications from flu.
- Symptoms of canine influenza include: lethargy, cough, fever and nasal discharge.
The dangers of Blue Green Algae
What is Blue Green Algae?
Blue Green Algae is the common name for Cyanobacteria. Most types of algae are not a problem. Blue Green Algae, however, is very toxic.
What does Blue Green Algae look like? Blue green algae does not float ON the water, it is distributed WITHIN the water. The algae that floats on top is typically duckweed, which is not toxic. Blue Green Algae laden water is not clear and generally takes on a deep dark green color. Usually Blue Green Algae is found in the shallow bay of lakes, slews or ponds.
When is Blue Green Algae a problem?
Blue Green Algae doesn't always release it's toxin. The environmental temperature has to be right for this to happen. In Minnesota, cyanobacteria toxins typically occur in July and August when water temperatures rise to 85 degrees and runoff fertilizer byproducts of nitrogen and phosphorous are present.
How does Blue Green Algae cause illness?
Animals (and people) can get sick from Blue Green Algae by drinking or swimming in the water. The Algae releases a toxin into the water, and when ingested, the toxin can cause liver failure.
What are signs of Blue Green Algae toxicity?
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, respiratory distress and death. Signs can occur within hours to days.
What is the treatment for Blue Green Algae toxicity?
There is no specific treatment for Blue Green Algae toxicity. Pets are treated with supportive care, typically IV fluids. If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to Blue Green Algae, wear rubber gloves and bathe your pet immediatley. Then bring your pet to the nearest Veterinarian.
How can I prevent Blue Green Algae Toxicity?
First, don't let your pet drink or swim in water that is not clear. Tests are available through the University of Minnesota Veterinary School Toxicology Unit that can test the water for presence of Blue Green Algae toxins.
Is it safe to give my pet Blue Green Algae herbal supplements?
No, you should not give your pet Blue Green Algae tablets. A 2006 case at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School involved a sick cat with severely elevated liver enzymes after ingesting these tablets. The tablets that were given to the cat were analyzed and confirmed to contain blue green algae toxin.