No need to panic, but educate yourself to help protect man’s best friend

by | Apr 21, 2015

Canine influenza has been detected in several Midwestern states, where it has reportedly sickened more than 1,000 dogs. While the virus has not been found in North Carolina or adjacent states, North Carolina veterinary officials are on alert and following news about the virus closely. Dr. Patricia Norris, animal welfare director, says that it’s time for shelter managers, boarding kennel employees and pet owners to educate themselves about the disease. A lot of information has popped up quickly, so she has added links to reputable information about the virus to the Animal Welfare Section website.

The good news for animal shelters and boarding kennels is that the virus appears to be easily killed by disinfectants, and a thorough cleaning of cages, bowls and other surfaces should help prevent spreading the virus, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Routine infection control precautions are key to preventing spread of viral disease within facilities. The canine influenza virus appears to be easily killed by disinfectants (e.g., quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach solutions at a 1 to 30 dilution) in common use in veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and animal shelters. Protocols should be established for thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting cages, bowls, and other surfaces between uses. Employees should wash their hands with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are unavailable) before and after handling each dog; after coming into contact with a dog’s saliva, urine, feces, or blood; after cleaning cages; and upon arriving at and before leaving the facility. ~ Canine Influenza FAQs, AVMA

The virus can also be spread by air particles, so it is important that dogs with respiratory issues be kept isolated until a veterinarian can rule out canine influenza. All regulated shelters and boarding facilities should have cleaning and quarantine procedures in place.