You may have heard it on the news, there have been confirmed cases of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in Georgia and Tennessee. CIV is an extremely contagious disease for dogs.
There are two strains of the canine flu virus, H3N2 and H3N8. The current outbreak is of H3N2.
Luckily, there is a low mortality rate with animals who contract this disease (few dogs die). However, it is HIGHLY contagious to other dogs and can live in the environment for a few days after exposure. Therefore, we strongly recommend vaccination of at-risk dogs, the disease can be brought home on your clothes/shoes. It is not contagious to people (non-zoonotic), but cats can become infected with it.
CIV has an incubation period of 2 to 5 days (this means it takes approximately between 2-5 days for a dog to show signs). The general clinical signs of CIV are coughing, sneezing, not eating, fever, and acting depressed and tired. Runny eyes and a runny nose may or may not be present. More severe clinical signs of canine influenza virus are a high fever, (104.0 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, pneumonia, hemorrhagic (coughing up blood) pneumonia, trouble breathing and potential secondary bacterial pneumonia. Transmission of CIV can occur from virus aerosolized (spread into the air) by barking, coughing, sneezing, and surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus can remain present on surfaces for several days. Coughing for several weeks after infection may be observed, but there is no risk of transmission at this time. Generally dogs are free of the virus by the 7th to 10th day after the onset of clinical signs, but with this particular strain, H3N2, the virus may shed up to 3 weeks or more after the resolution of clinical signs.
Cats can also be infected with H3N2 – they will have runny noses, congestion, malaise, lip smacking, and excessive salivation.
Transmission: Pets can get the disease through sharing bowls, being in close proximity to infected animals and breathing in, licking an infected area and we can bring it in on our clothes.
Diagnosis: of canine influenza virus is performed by identification of the virus in acutely infected animals or by the presence of CIV antibodies in the late stages of clinical disease. A swab is taken and sent to the lab.
Treatment: treatment is very similar to the way we treat ourselves with the flu, supportive care. This includes antibiotics to prevent/cure the secondary bacterial infection, fluid therapy, cough suppressant tabs, NSAIDS to reduce fever and help with pain, adequate nutrition, fever control (alcohol on the pads, put water on them and run a fan, etc), oxygen if in respiratory distress, anti-nausea medication, etc.
Prevention: Prevention and biosecurity are significant components to managing CIV. Vaccination against canine influenza virus is available and provided by many veterinary hospitals and clinics. Infection control measures, such as, cleaning and disinfecting cages, bowls, and other fomites (hard and soft surfaces that can allow the virus to live on it) is very important. Proper hygiene and washing clothes with detergent at proper washing temperatures also reduces and/or prevents the spread of the virus. Bag any towels separately and mark “Possible CIV” so that they can be disinfected. Bag any newspaper that may have been contaminated with bodily fluids separately and take to the trash immediately.
Canine Influenza Virus is extremely contagious, but if you take the proper steps in caring for your pet you can help your pet avoid getting sick. Vaccination is the first line of defense along proper cleaning. Avoid taking your dog to highly populated events.
National Spay Alliance does have the Influenza vaccine. Please call the office for pricing, age requirements, and frequency of vaccinating.
What is a tethered dog? The definition is:
A dog that is tethered with chain, rope or cable to a stationary object, usually in a back yard.
Imagine spending your life tied to a stationary object. Whether it's rain or shine, hot or cold. You stare at the same thing day in and day out and watch life happen and you can only watch. It doesn't sound like much of a life, in fact it is a frustrating and lonely life. Dogs are social beings who crave and thrive on companionship and interaction with other people and animals. When a dog is left for hours, days, months and even years on a chain, they suffer immense psychological damage. They can become aggressive, anxious and neurotic through lack of socialization.
They can also be in harms way, such as becoming tangled around something so they can not reach their shelter, food or water. The collar or chain around their neck can become too tight and become embedded in their skin causing infection and pain. It also puts them at risk if they are attacked by another dog or animal as they can not escape.
Dogs that are tethered are three times more likely to bite according to the Centers for Disease Control and The Humane Society of the Unites States. As they are generally under socialized and feel naturally defensive because they are confined.
While tethering a dog may not be illegal in some areas Georgia is starting to recognize its cruelty and has begun passing ordinances that allow tethering only when the keeper remains in the physical presence of the animal. Restricting tethering of dogs and upgrading care standards will give animal control and law enforcement officers an important opportunity to educate dog owners on proper care and provide them with more certain, consistent, and enforceable minimum care standards.
To become well-adjusted companion animals, dogs should interact with people daily and receive regular exercise. Placing an animal on a restraint for short periods for exercise or fresh air is acceptable. Animals kept temporarily tethered should be safely secured so the tether can’t become entangled with other objects. The care taker should be able to physically see the dog the entire time the dog is tethered. Collars should be properly fitted. Using a pulley or trolley run is preferable to stationary chaining. However, dogs still get choked and tangled on trolleys. The best way to confine dogs is to bring them inside or provide them with a fenced area.
The following counties have passed anti-tethering ordinances in Georgia:
Tethering Banned (allowed only while person is with pet)
College Park 14,621
City of Madison 3,636
Total Population 3,805,891
Restricted Tethering Ordinances are in the following counties:
DeKalb 722,161 Douglas 138,776
Statham 2,408 Richmond 201,368
LaGrange 30,542 Albany 75,769
Monroe 13,664 Barrow 73,240
Total Population 1,321,916
Animal Law Source
1 in 38 dogs test positive for heartworm! Those are just the dogs we know about. Take a look at the map, Northwest Georgia has the highest incident rates. This means your dogs are at a very high risk of being infected.
In the month of March NSAF tested 150 dogs for the parasite 17 dogs tested positive! 11% of the dogs we tested in just one month are positive for heartworm.
Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos. A mosquito bites your neighbors infected dog and then flies into your home and bites your dog injecting the larvae into your unsuspecting pet. In time if left undiagnosed or untreated your dog can suffer respiratory distress, chronic heart disease/failure or even sudden death.
It doesn't matter if your dog lives in doors except to go out to use the bathroom, mosquitos are in your home. We live in Georgia they are every where.
We often hear folks say it's to expensive to test and to buy preventative. The average cost of treating the disease can run any where from $500 - $1500. So folks might think; well there's a treatment I will worry about it if he contracts the disease. Well think about this, the treatment option can be painful and can take 4 months or longer to treat and is very stressful on the body.
Compare that to a $20 test yearly and between $78 - $98 (1 year supply of preventative) and a $5 brief exam. (These prices are NSAF's). Most heartworm preventions are given orally and monthly. It is very important to give the prevention on time because if you forget and give it every other month then your dog is at risk for contracting heartworms. There are lots of ways to remember to give the prevention such as stickers that come in the medication package and reminders on your cell phone.
We all love our dogs, for most of us they are part of our family. Preventing this disease is easy and economical so please get your dog in for testing and let's prevent this disease from spreading further.
For more information you can go to https://www.heartwormsociety.org/.
In the last 8 months there has been 2 raccoons and 2 skunks that have tested positive for rabies. On February 21st of this year a dog was bitten by one those raccoons in Dalton and must now under go a 6 month quarantine.
What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through the saliva or tissues from the nervous system from an infected mammal to another mammal.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases can pass between species. This means rabies can be passed from animal to human. It is generally transmitted through saliva of the infected animal via a bite or scratch to another animal or human.
Most human cases (90%) are caused by exposure from an infected dog. However bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes are also known to be important resevoirs of the disease.
The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system causing severely distressing neurological symptoms before causing the victim to die.
Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth with a 99.9% fatality rate. With immediate medical treatment after a bite by and infected animal it can be treated. Left untreated it is 100% deadly.
However, this disease is 100% preventable. This major source of rabies in humans can be eliminated through ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, educating those at risk, and enhancing access of those bitten to appropriate medical care.
What can you do to protect your family and pets?
National Spay Alliance Foundation wants to help you protect you and your pets. We are now offering a monthly $10 rabies vaccine clinic. Our next vaccine clinic will be held Saturday 04/01/17 from 9:00am - 11:00am. Heartworm testing and distemper vaccines are also $10.
Please help keep our community safe and vaccinate!
CDC - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
and Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
February is Dental Health month. While the cost of taking care of your pet's dental health can sometimes seem costly for a somewhat cosmetic procedure, much like your own dental health, your pet’s dental health can have an impact on your pet’s overall wellness.
Here are six signs that your pet is in need of a dental exam and dental care.
While these signs may signify that your pet may have an immediate dental need that needs to be addressed, it is important that your pet receives regular dental checkups and cleanings.
When animals eat things they shouldn't -
Animals are curious by nature. Young animals just like young humans are especially curious. Eating things that are not meant to be eaten is especially common in young animals, but it can occur in animals of any age. This can lead to some problems that range from annoying to life threatening.
Animals can ingest just about anything. In 20 + years in the veterinary and sheltering business I have seen some items ingested that are just mind boggling. I have seen a Standard Poodle eat and entire t-shirt. I cat that had eaten $1.32 in change. An English Bull dog eat 3 sewing machine needles. That is to name just a few.
Ingestion can also occur when the pet it playing with a toy that he or she is has been given. Frequently, while playing and chewing on toy items, the animal may unintentionally ingest some or all of the material. Foreign objects can perforate, irritate, or block a portion of your animal's digestive tract. If the foreign object gets stuck in the stomach or beginning of the small intestine, intermittent vomiting is the most consistent clinical sign. If the object gets stuck lower down in the digestive tract, signs aren’t as consistent and may include vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite or generalized poor condition.
If you suspect that your pet may have ingested something that may not pass through his intestinal tract, contact your veterinarian. Waiting until your pet starts to vomit will make removal of the foreign material more difficult and costly.
Foreign bodies need to be removed. Your veterinarian will locate the object through a
physical examination, X rays, or an ultrasound examination surgery is usually necessary
unless the foreign object can be retrieved with forceps or the veterinarian feels it can pass on its own (only a veterinarian can determine the latter). After an invasive surgery, such as a gastronomy (surgery into the stomach), your pet will be on a restricted diet for a few days until it can tolerate a normal diet.
The best way to prevent your pet from ingesting foreign bodies is to prevent access to objects that could be swallowed. Keep dangerous objects away from your pets and allow them to chew only on toys that cannot be swallowed. Never let them play with string or clothing.
Cold Weather Tips for Pets:
The bitter cold weather is upon us. When dogs and cats lived in the wild, cold weather was rarely a problem because they evolved to suit the climates in which they found themselves.
Domesticated animals are just that domesticated. For instance, a husky who is an indoor/outdoor dog should not be left outside for long periods of time in the cold and snow. They are not acclimated to the cold.
Dogs and cats aren't made for frigid conditions. They get just as cold in icy weather as people do. And because they go barefoot all the time, their paws are vulnerable to ice, packed snow, and road salt. In extreme conditions, they can get frostbite.
• During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
• Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags or better yet micro chipped.
• Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
• Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
• Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
• Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
• Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.
• Coolant and antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
• Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
If you follow these tips and take care to ensure warm dry housing for both you and your pet, the winter will be better for all.
Each year, there are a number of senior cats and dogs that are brought into shelters for a variety of reasons, maybe they have failed to adapt to a younger pet, their owners have moved, or maybe their owner became sick. For whatever reason, there are a large number of senior pets that sit unadopted, and unfortunately for a lot of these sweet souls adoption is their last chance.
November is designated as adopt a senior pet month, with a focus on finding these great pets forever homes.
Benefits of Owning a Senior Pet
Caring for You Senior Pet
With all the benefits of getting a senior pet, we hope that you will consider giving one of the wonderful pets a forever home. Before adopting a senior pet, we think that it is important to talk about how to care for your new family member in the coming years.
Depending on their breed, and their expected lifespan, pets can reach the senior years as early as six years of age, although most are considered seniors by the time they are eight years old.
For senior pets health concerns are often similar to what we as humans experience, achy joints, failing eyesight, and dental issues. Regular visits to your veterinarian are critical to address any of these issues in your older pet may have and whenever possible prevent issues from becoming costly emergencies.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends that healthy senior dogs and cats visit the veterinarian every six months for a complete exam and laboratory testing. Keep in mind that every year for a dog or cat is equivalent to 5–7 human years. To stay current with your senior pet’s health care, twice-a-year exams are strongly advised.
Laboratory testing for senior pets will typically include the following:
In honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month National Spay Allliance is offering month long specials for all owners of senior pets*. If you have adopted a senior pet in the last 30 days, come in for a free wellness check (you will need to bring your adoption papers to the appointment) . If you are a current owner of a senior pet we are offering wellness checks. We can run a comprehensive blood screen at the discounted price of $50. For more information stop in or give us a call at 706-370-7594. This offer is valid through December 31, 2016.
*This promotion applies to pets age 8 and older.