As the weather changes and spring comes our thoughts turn to…Canine Influenza?? Wait did I just type that? Yes I did. Recently Boise Idaho has become the latest community affected by this highly contagious upper respiratory disease. Canine Influenza is caused by one of two strains, H3N8 or more recently H3N2. Currently there is a large outbreak affecting many parts of California with over 500 cases. This outbreak has been linked to positive dogs in Reno Nevada, Walla Walla Washington and Grants Pass Oregon. Symptoms of influenza can include a high fever of 103 or above, fatigue, loss of appetite and a cough as well as nasal discharge which may start as clear but can progress to a thick yellow or pink tinged discharge. We can confirm diagnosis by submitting eye and throat swabs to IDEXX labs for virus identification. This virus is HIGHLY contagious, it can be spread by direct nose to nose contact, aerosol spread of the virus particles or by fomite spread (toys, food and water dishes, bedding, and by people petting infected dogs then going home to their own dogs). There is a 7 to 10 day incubation period where dogs may show no clinical signs but could be spreading the virus and experts say dogs can shed virus for up to 24 days. We at Four Rivers have already completed staff training on this virus and have addressed the risk with handling and cleaning protocol changes. We will also be recommending the bivalent Canine Influenza vaccine for all dogs and we will be REQUIRING it moving forward for all our boarding animals. We are doing this in efforts to protect our patients against this highly contagious (and in rare cases deadly) virus. Please call with any questions regarding Canine Influenza and your pet.