Letters to the Editor

Canine flu could hit here

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services posted an alert Sept. 20 on an emerging respiratory tract disease in dogs that can mimic signs of kennel cough. The disease is more serious, however, and generally requires the attention of a veterinarian. Known as canine influenza or canine flu, the disease is caused by a highly contagious virus that was recently identified by researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

The FDACS reported that all dogs, regardless of breed or age, are susceptible to infection and do not have naturally acquired or vaccine-induced immunity. While most dogs that become infected experience a milder form of influenza, some develop a more acute disease with clinical signs of pneumonia. Among the latter group, the mortality rate is 1 to 5 percent.

Look for the University of Florida’s report on canine flu in an upcoming issue of Science magazine. Meanwhile, for a copy of the FDACS alert, log on to http://doacs.state.fl.us and then click on “Bronson Alerts Public To Newly Emerging Canine Flu.”

There is a reasonable possiblity that Oak Harbor dogs can be exposed to this disease because of Navy personnel transfer here from Navy bases in Florida. A vaccine for this disease does not exist at this time.

Donna DeBonis, DVM

Oak Harbor

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