Every pet owner is concerned about the safety of their animal. We understand your concern regarding the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis in Los Angeles County. Even though most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks from Canine Influenza, it’s still not a sickness you want to put your pet through.
We love your dogs as much as you do, so we’ve gathered the top ten questions you may have about Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis — and answered them for you so that you will not only feel safe about boarding your pets or bringing them in for grooming but feel informed as well.
About Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis
Canine Influenza is a viral infection that appears similar to “kennel cough” and is highly contagious. Canine Influenza is caused by a specific Type A which only infects dogs. Symptoms can appear within 2-3 days and can last for 2-3 weeks.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. The disease is spiral-shaped bacteria that live in water or warm wet soil. Once the animal has obtained the bacteria, it is carried in their kidneys and passed along when they urinate.
Questions and Answers About Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis
1. How Do Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis Spread?
Canine Influenza is spread through droplets or aerosols and passes from dog to dog when an infected animal sneezes, barks, or coughs. It can also be transmitted indirectly on the surfaces of objects such as food and water bowls, toys, and even people who have been in contact with an infected dog.
Canine Influenza is easily spread through close contact between an infected dog and healthy dogs. The virus can live on surfaces for up to 2 days, so practicing excellent hygiene once an outbreak has been identified is crucial.
Leptospirosis is transmitted through the urine of an infected dog. If a healthy dog comes into contact with infected urine, it can contract Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis can infect other mammals besides dogs, including humans.
2. What are the symptoms of Influenza vs. Leptospirosis?
The symptoms of Canine Influenza are similar to symptoms of flu in humans. Your dog may have one or more of the following symptoms, or they may have no symptoms at all.
- Nasal Discharge
- Loss of Appetite
In some cases, pneumonia can develop from Canine Influenza. Pneumonia in dogs is very serious and, in some cases, can be life-threatening.
The symptoms of Leptospirosis are commonly associated with kidney damage.
- Low appetite
3. How effective is the vaccine for both diseases?
The vaccine for Canine Influenza may be given to dogs over seven weeks and must be given as two vaccinations administered two to four weeks apart. Your dog should be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before they are exposed to potential Canine Influenza to maximize protection. You should also get your dog a booster annually since the vaccine’s protection doesn’t last that long.
However, even if your dog is vaccinated, it can still become infected with the Canine Influenza Virus. Neither the vaccine for Canine Influenza or the one for Leptospirosis is 100% effective at preventing transmission of these diseases. Still, they do reduce the chance of an infected dog getting very sick.
4. Should I get the vaccine even if I don’t plan to board my dog or go to daycare soon?
It’s essential to keep your dog up to date on all its vaccinations. However, since the Canine Influenza vaccine isn’t considered a routine vaccine, your vet may have to order it in for you if you feel your dog needs it. If your dog won’t be boarding or mixing with other dogs at all, you may be able to skip the Canine Influenza vaccine.
However, if you plan on taking your dog out in public or boarding them in the future, it’s a good idea to go ahead and get your dog vaccinated. Since two vaccinations at least two to four weeks apart are required, it’s better to go ahead and get your dog vaccinated in case you do need to board it in the fairly near future.
5. What should I ask my boarding or daycare facility about Influenza and Leptospirosis?
Dog boarding and daycare facilities should maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment for your pets. Before allowing your dog to stay at any facility, ask them about their vaccination policies.
You should also ask them about their cleaning policies. Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis are both transmitted through the environment that your dog interacts with. If the facility isn’t cleaned thoroughly and regularly, diseases like this can spread easily.
6. My dog might have been exposed to Influenza or Leptospirosis, what should I do?
If you suspect that your dog has been exposed to either Influenza or Lepto, quarantine your pet at home for at least 14 days. Watch them for signs or symptoms of disease, and contact your veterinarian for advice on how to care for your dog.
If your dog doesn’t get sick, you should still have them vaccinated. If your dog shows signs of illness, keep it isolated from other pets for at least 28 days. Remember to use extra care with hygiene if you suspect that your dog has been infected with Leptospirosis.
7. Should I be worried about myself or my family getting sick?
Although humans can transmit the virus that causes Canine Influenza on their hands or clothes, they can’t get sick from the virus. However, humans can contract Leptospirosis, so you must practice good hygiene around a dog that’s infected with Leptospirosis.
- Wash your hands after touching your dog or areas where it has been.
- Clean urine thoroughly with a disinfectant.
- Wear gloves when cleaning up the urine of infected dogs.
8. Can cats get Influenza or Leptospirosis?
Cats can get both Influenza and Leptospirosis, though cats are not as likely to get Canine Influenza as it is its own strain of Influenza. The best way to protect your cat from these and other diseases is to make sure you keep their vaccinations up to date and keep them away from sick pets.
If a feline were to contract Leptospirosis, symptoms could be:
- Sudden fever
- Stiffness in their gait
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting – which could include traces of blood
- Diarrhea – that may contain blood
- Runny nose
- Increased thirst
- Rapid pulse
9. My dog is older, and my vet does not recommend this vaccine, can he board still if my vet authorizes this?
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we care about your pet as well as the health of all of our customers’ pets. Due to Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis outbreaks, we will be requiring that all dogs be vaccinated starting September 1st, 2021.
10. I started the 2 Part Vaccine of Lepto and or Influenza vaccine. Can I board my pet after the first dose?
Because the Canine Influenza vaccine is a 2-dose treatment, you’ll want to start the dosing as soon as possible. Due to the effectiveness of only having one dose and the severity of both diseases, your pet must have completed both vaccinations to board at our facility. We’re working with the CDC and LA County to ensure we follow all of the best protocols.
Prioritize Your Dog’s Safety
If you’re looking for a place to board your dog, Kennel Club LAX is ready to meet your needs. We prioritize the safety of all our guests, so you can rest easy knowing they’re in safe hands. Contact us today to schedule a visit or have your questions answered by one of our helpful team members.