We have heard from a number of vets, through our students and membership, about the increase in the current dog influenza type virus. According to these sources the virus is caused by a new influenza virus variant and their recommendation is that “your dog maintain a current vaccination for canine influenza particularly if they regularly socialize with other dogs or go to dog parks, daycare or boarding.” These e-mails to various client bases also state that "many of the dogs that have come in with this disease have reportedly been vaccinated for both Bordetella and Canine Influenza".
How is that affecting the club so far? We have had a few students that have missed one or more nights of class due to some form of “kennel cough”. So far, no one else in those classes had any symptoms. We routinely advise against having dogs come to class and play or interact with the other dogs directly as that makes the other dogs more interesting than the owner trying to get their dog’s attention for training. For this reason, direct nose to nose, close contact interaction is not normally a part of our classes. Direct interaction is the common mode of transmission for this respiratory disease.
Currently the club requires all dogs to be current on the normal vaccinations. Due to COVID restrictions we have already reduced some contact vectors by not allowing use of the club dog crates, requiring students to bring their own crates when needed, and reducing class size. We had considered, relaxing these restrictions and possibly allowing a small increase in class size due to COVID status for our county moving to a less restrictive tier but in light of the current increase in influenza type illnesses in dogs we will continue with existing COVID restrictions which will also serve to keep our classes safer for the dogs.
Social distancing for the dogs (which includes bringing your own water dishes and water as needed to limit transmission between dogs) seems to be in order during this period of increased influenza type illness in dogs.