Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Trooper and the Dog Flu

I now understand better why Trooper’s trainer at Dogs for the Deaf said not to take my new service animal to dog parks or dog beaches.

He’s already under enough risk for animal disease simply by going everywhere in public with me—to crowded places where not only sick dogs might have hung out but also humans whose clothes might be carrying viruses and bacteria picked up from their pets.

No point in adding to the perils by taking Trooper to places where dogs are concentrated, like parks and beaches.

The spur to this post was Trooper’s visit to the vet yesterday afternoon for immunization against a new strain of canine influenza that is extremely contagious (fortunately, the mortality rate is low, less than 10 per cent).

The vet's office said that although stay-at-home dogs who rarely encounter others probably don’t need the vaccination, service dogs should have it, because they are so often out swimming in the Petri dish of the big world.

The new vaccine has been on the market for only about a month. It protects against the H3N2 virus that erupted in Chicago last year and spread west, as well as the older H3N8 bug that also can cause deep coughing and fever for as long as three weeks. (Some dogs shrug off the symptoms in a day or two, and some who acquire the viruses never show any.)

The vaccine takes two weeks to start working, at which time a second injection is required to help it along. Trooper has to go back on Feb. 22 for another jab.

Good thing the shots aren’t expensive—just $35 each. That’s cheap compared to as many as three weeks of loss of a service dog’s labors.

Must watch Trooper for possible side effects, though: vomiting and swelling around the eyes. So far, so good.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear Trooper is in such good hands, with the veterinarian, and with you!