Tag Archives: vaccines

Canine Influenza – What You Need to Know



You may have heard news reports about the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). While it is not currently a major problem in California or the U.S., we want to address news of the virus to inform and quell some of our clients’ concerns.

The first strain of CIV diagnosed in the world,  H3N8, was identified in 2004 in racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida. A vaccine was developed for this strain in 2009.

Another CIV strain, H3N2, which affects dogs, and rarely cats, was diagnosed first in South Korea in 2007, and in the United States in the Chicago area in March 2015.

(H3N2 is NOT the same strain as H3N2v, the swine flu, which effects pigs and humans.)

It is not currently known whether the H3N8 vaccine works to prevent or lessen the symptoms of the H3N2 virus.

There have been no reports of dog flu spreading from dogs to any humans, so do not fear.

We currently have the H3N8 vaccine available at the hospital, but we do not recommend it to our clients, unless it is needed for your pets to travel (some states and countries require it). The dog flu currently does not pose a threat large enough in California to necessitate routine vaccination.

The DHPP vaccine, Bordetella vaccine, Rabies vaccine, and if you’re a hiker or desert resident, the Rattlesnake vaccine, are the inoculations currently recommended to keep your pup healthy and protected.

The doctors at the hospital are monitoring the situation with updates from the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and we will change our recommendations if the virus ever shows signs of becoming a larger threat.


High fever, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, consistent dry or wet coughing, running nose, running eyes, lethargy.

Some dogs with CIV show no symptoms, but some can develop pneumonia and severe  respiratory infections.


Dog who go to dog parks, stay in boarding facilities, or have daily visits in a dog-friendly office are more likely to contract CIV then dogs who are mostly indoors. This is especially true if you live in a state that has had a CIV outbreak, such as Illinois or Indiana.

Older dogs, sick dogs, brachycephalic dogs (Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.), and dogs with a history of respiratory infections will be more susceptible to developing severe respiratory illness and/or bacterial infection as a result of contracting CIV.

The percentage rate of dogs who die as a result of contracting CIV is very low. Some estimates put it as low as 1%, some go as high as 10%.


H3N8 and H3N2 are very contagious ! It spreads easily from surfaces, air, clothing, and shoe contamination, and dogs can spread the virus for up to 24 days, even if they do not show any symptoms. From the AVMA:

Canine influenza is spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions (via coughing, barking and sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The virus can remain viable (alive and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.

The incubation period is usually two to four days from exposure to onset of clinical signs. The highest amounts of viral shedding occur during this time; therefore, dogs are most contagious during this 2-4 day incubation period when they are not exhibiting signs of illness. Virus shedding decreases dramatically during the first 4 days of illness but may continue up to 7 days in most dogs and up to 10 days in some dogs with H3N8 canine influenza. Intermittent H3N2 shedding for up to 24 days can occur.


If your furry baby is showing signs and symptoms of CIV and you think your dog might have canine influenza, bring your dog to the hospital – before you bring your pet in, tell the staff if your dog has been coughing so we can determine if your dog needs to be brought in through another entrance and isolated.

There are two main types of tests, the PCR test, which involves simply swabbing your pets’ oral cavity (throat), as well as the serum test, which requires drawing blood. Currently, the PCR test is more reliable and is the hospital’s first choice when diagnosing CIV.

Treatment depends on the severity of your dog’s infection. Most dogs will not have severe symptoms, and keeping your dog hydrated with fluids and a long period of rest will be all your pup requires. Some dogs have more severe symptoms and develop secondary infections, in which case antibiotics and other medication may be used.


Currently, in California, you do not need to worry about CIV. We do not even recommend vaccinating for canine influenza at the current time. The best prevention is to stay informed, and be on top of your dog’s vaccinations and general health.

For more information please visit:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/canineflu/keyfacts.htm

AVMA : https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx

(photo at top by Scott Robinson/Wikimedia Commons)

Dog Bite Prevention: Tips for Parents and Dog Owners

Rose Joon 6
Rose Shahrzad Moezzi and Joon Moezzi spending quality time together. – photo by Mom Liz Rose Moezzi
As a follow-up to our last blog post about preparing your pets for a newborn, we want to raise awareness about Dog Bite Prevention to make sure that your children are prepared for pets!

About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S., and children are by far the most commonly injured group. Senior citizens, home service providers, mail carriers, and utility meter readers are also frequent dog bite victims.

There are approximately 70 million dogs living as household pets in the United States – and most of them are angels. But whether you have a good dog, a naughty dog, a difficult dog, or an excitable dog, it’s important to remember that ANY dog can bite. Most children, if bitten, are bitten by a dog the child knows, meaning a pet in the home, or the pet of a familiar person.

Media reports and cultural prejudices will give the impression that certain breeds are more prone to attacking than other breeds, such as Pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, but there is little scientific evidence to support these claims. Little white fluffy dogs bite just as much as big square-jawed guard dogs, and any dog can do damage to a child.

Dog Bite Prevention nurse
Keep your dogs healthy! Sick dogs and dogs in pain are more likely to bite. – imgur.com
Here are some great tips on preventing dog bites from the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), plus some other guidance from the staff at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital:
Tips for parents to help prevent children from being bitten by dogs:

– NEVER leave an infant or a young child alone with ANY breed of dog.

– Teach your children not to approach unfamiliar dogs or stick their hands or fingers through fences and gates in an attempt to pet dogs.

– Have your children always ask permission from the dog owner before petting any dog – and make sure the dog looks happy and calm before letting your child approach, even if the owner says it’s okay.

– Educate your children on dog body language – remember, most dogs bite out of FEAR, not aggression. Show your children videos and pictures online of dog body language – growling, curled lips, teeth showing, hair standing up on the neck and back, tail curled under the body, and trying to hide underneath objects- these are all signs that mean “stay away!”

– Don’t let your children run past dogs – dogs naturally love to chase and catch things, so don’t give them a reason to become excited or chase.

– Never let your children disturb dogs that are sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

Dog Bite Prevention body language 1
Educate children about dog body language with diagrams like these. – contact Lili Chin at DoggieDrawings.net if you want to order posters
Tips for dog owners to prevent your dog from biting:

– If you’re considering welcoming a dog into your home, don’t do it on impulse. Dogs take medical care, training, and love and attention. Improperly trained dogs, unsocialized dogs, neglected dogs, and dogs in pain are more likely to bite.

– If you get a puppy, play with him and socialize him early. Make sure to pet him and talk to him while he’s eating, so he gets used to physical attention while feeding.

– At ANY age, make sure your dog is properly trained – the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is absolutely incorrect. A dog who is properly cared for and trained at ANY age can become calmer, less anxious, and more submissive. Make sure your dog understands basic commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “No,” and “Come.” If you need recommendations for trainers, please ask us here at the hospital – we’d be happy to give you names and information.

– Keep your dog healthy! Vaccinate your dog against rabies. Check your dogs’ teeth and ears regularly – these are places painful infections can hide, and dogs can’t use words to tell us they’re not feeling well! Dogs in pain are much more likely to bite then healthy dogs.

– Have your dogs neutered and spayed! According to current studies, neutered and spayed dogs are less likely to bite, as they are calmer and less aggressive. And as an added bonus, neutered and spayed dogs are less likely to run away from home.

– Be a responsible dog owner: Make sure your gates and fences are properly secured so that your dog cannot get out. Spend time with your dog and make sure she has plenty of exercise, and is mentally stimulated and tired by the end of the day. Dogs that are left in yards to fend for themselves all day and all night have a much higher chance of developing behavioral problems that can lead to biting.

– Watch your dog in all situations, and recognize her body language. The best way to prevent your dog from biting is to understand her behavior, when she is scared, and when she is in pain.

Dog Bite Prevention dog facial language
Dog facial language – ASPCA
What to do if your dog bites someone:

– Get control of your dog immediately and restrain him. Take him away from the person who just was bitten and confine your dog if possible.

– Check on the victim’s condition, and if necessary call 911.

– Provide the victim with your personal information and information about your dog’s most recent rabies vaccination. If your dog has not had a rabies vaccination, tell the victim immediately because he/she may have to undergo post-exposure rabies prophylaxis.

– Consult your vet for advice on how to prevent your dog from biting in the future. Trainers, behaviorists, and, if necessary, medications, are all tools available for overly anxious or aggressive dogs.

Dog Bite Prevention dog body language 2
Dog Body Language – ASPCA
What to do if you are bitten by your own dog:

– If your own dog bit you, confine your dog immediately and call your veterinarian to check on your dog’s vaccination records. Seek medical attention, especially if your dog has not had a rabies vaccination. If your dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, ask your doctor if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

– Take your dog to the vet to be examined. If your dog is in pain, or if your dog is sick, that may be the reason your dog lashed out. If physically your dog is healthy, but your dog still seems anxious and aggressive, talk to your vet about behaviorists, trainers, and medications available to help calm the dog.

What to do if you are bitten by someone else’s dog:

– Seek medical attention immediately. If the owner is there, ask for the owner’s personal contact information and their veterinarian’s contact information to check on the dog’s vaccination records. Ask your doctor if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

– If the dog is alone, or if the owner ran away without giving you any information, it is important to contact authorities to help prevent this from happening to another person, possibly a child or a senior citizen. Tell the police/animal control department everything you can remember about the dog – size, appearance, location, and whether you’ve seen the dog previously.

Here are some links for more information and resources about Dog Bite Prevention:

American Veterinary Medical Association – Dog Bite Prevention

ASPCA – Dog Body Language

HealthyChildren.org – Dog Bite Prevention

LivingWithKidsAndDogs.com – A Parents Guide to Dog Bite Prevention and other articles

PetEducation.com – Interactions Between Children and Dogs

(beautiful drawing on home page by Harrison Weir/Wikimedia Commons)


Rattlesnake Awareness – Take a Bite Out of Venom

Rattlesnake Crotalus_ruber_02

It’s that time of year again – Rattlesnake Season!

Rattlesnake Cassie Commercial

Rattlesnake Cassie 3












We had a client come in to the BHSAH last week with their beautiful dog Cassie, who was bitten several times on the muzzle. Above left is Cassie’s normal appearance, and above right is Cassie with swelling around her face and muzzle due to snake bites.

Thankfully, the owner had been vaccinating Cassie for rattlesnake venom for many years, and she recovered fine after only 1 and a half days in the hospital.

If you live in Southern California and you like to walk around in natural environments with your dog, it is so important to get your dog the rattlesnake vaccine. The rattlesnake vaccine is not a magical cloak of immunity, and any time a dog is bitten she should be immediately RUSHED to the hospital;  BUT the vaccine will give you more time to get to the hospital, and will slow the effects of the rattlesnake venom in your pet.

Please see our blog post about the rattlesnake vaccine here – you will find details about the type of snakes the vaccine guards against, symptoms of a rattlesnake bite to look out for in your pet, and tips on what to do if you see a snake while walking your pet.

(Rattlesnake pic by Dawson from Wikimedia Commons)

National Immunization Month – Keep Your Pets Healthy


In taking care of our furry friends, we always want to make sure we protect them from the ugliest viruses. Whether it’s from sniffing feces, playing in the park, roaming outside, or saying hello to another pet, YOUR pet is at major risk of contracting a life threatening virus.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and at Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital, we would like to educate you on keeping your pets properly vaccinated. Whether its the suggested 6 month bordetella booster for your pup or the state required 3 year rabies vaccine, these immunizations have a specific schedule that should be maintained to provide a happy long life for your pet. According to k9 or feline, one should be familiar with the common viruses that your pet can be protected against.



Bordetella (6 months) – The bordetella vaccine is given to prevent the highly infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as Kennel Cough disease. This is a disease that affects the respiratory system of your dog. This will create major inflammation of the trachea and bronchi in the lungs, causing your dog great discomfort. Some symptoms to look for are, dry hacking (which is most common), honking cough, dry heaving retch, and slight nasal discharge. In mild cases, dogs likely remain active with normal appetite, but in severe cases the symptoms can include pneumonia, inappetence, fever, lethargy and can eventually become fatal.

Distemper (12 months/Annual) – Distemper virus is the leading cause of infectious disease deaths in dogs globally. The primary source of the virus is via inhalation as it is shed through feces and urine. Distemper has also been known to be carried in raccoons which are commonly seen in Los Angeles. The distemper virus attacks cells that line the skin, conjunctiva, mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract, and brain cells. Half the dogs who become infected with distemper virus begin with mild signs of illness or no signs at all. This virus comes in stages with the first stage being a fever spike, second being loss of appetite, listlessness and discharge from eyes and nose (similar to a cold). The second occurs two to three weeks after the onset of the disease. This nasty disease in second stage can lead to involvement of the brain expressed as attacks of excessive drooling, head trembling, and chewing movements of the jaws (as if your dog were chewing gum). This is a highly infectious and fatal disease. There is NO treatment for this infection and many dogs die or have to be put to sleep.

Parvovirus (12 months/Annual) – Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that infects rapidly dividing the cells of the gastrointestinal tract and lymph nodes. The intestinal lining then begins to slough which causes severe diarrhea leading to dehydration. The virus attacks, destroys the lymph nodes, and then causes secondary infections, resulting in septicemia and endotoxemia. This virus is usually contracted through oral contact of stool from infected dogs. Parvo can be carried on a dog’s fur and feet, as well as contaminated crates and other objects such as toys. Dogs of all ages can contract the virus. This illness begins with depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasional fever. Your dog’s condition can rapidly decline and death will be eminent if he is not treated immediately.

Adenovirus 1 – This virus causes infectious canine hepatitis and is transmitted through infected urine via oronasal route. It infects the tonsils and the lymph nodes, then spreads to the liver, kidneys and eyes. Symptoms of this viral infection include fever, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged liver, abdominal pain, bruising of the skin, pinpoint red dots, and swollen lymph nodes.

Leptospirosis – Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria called spirochetes, and is an important zoonotic disease that can infect both dogs and people. Wild animals such as rats, raccoons, skunks, and opossums act as carriers of leptospirosis. Those who go hiking, camping, or even have their dogs exposed to areas where these carriers live, should definitely be sure to vaccinate for this bacteria. It is commonly spread through urine and makes its way into water sources remaining infective in soil for up to 6 months! These spirochetes enter a dog’s system through a skin lesion or being consumed via contaminated water. Most infections begin to show signs 4-12 days after exposure with a fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, depression, muscle pain, and death due to kidney or liver failure if not treated immediately. It is important to emphasize that Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease and it can be transmitted to people from their infected dogs. Leptospirosis is endemic in certain parts of the US.

Canine Parainfluenza – Parainfluenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that causes kennel cough in dogs. This virus infects the respiratory mucosal cells of the nose, trachea and bronchi. This can lead to secondary infections with the bordetella bacteria. Symptoms include, coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy and loss of appetite (similar to when we have the flu). This virus can easily be picked up through shelters, rescue centers, kennels, daycares, groomers, dog parks and daily hellos from other pups on the streets.

Rabies (3 years) – This disease has been successfully eliminated from Los Angeles County through our vaccination program. It is now extremely rare for your dog to contract this disease in California. This disease when contracted is very severe and typically fatal… This disease affects the dog’s brain and its central nervous system. Once the virus enters the body, the infected cells replicate in the muscles then spreading to the closest nerve fibers including, all peripheral, sensory and motor nerves. This virus is slower moving and can take up to a month to develop, but once the symptoms set, the virus progresses at a rapid rate. Symptoms of rabies include: Pica, fever, seizures, paralysis, hydrophobia, dropped jaw, inability to swallow, change in tone of bark, muscular lack of coordination, shyness or aggression, irritability, paralysis in the mandible and larynx, and excessive salivation.

This infection has zoonotic characteristics and therefore can be transmitted to humans. Bats are animals that are most commonly found to be carrying rabies in our country. So far, in 2014 only 21 rabid bats have been found in Los Angeles County. Rabies is endemic in certain parts of the US. These states require annual rabies vaccines.

Rattlesnake (Optional Annual) – Do you hike with your pup? Do you live in the hills? If your dog is in high contact of rattlesnakes, this immunization is definitely recommended. This vaccine does not mean that if your dog is bit, he will not need medical attention. The shot will actually give you more time to take your pet to the nearest animal hospital to be admitted into critical care. The vaccine works by helping neutralize rattlesnake venom by producing protective antibodies.

Lyme Disease (Optional Annual) Tick disease… ew! No one likes ticks to begin with, nasty little buggers. Lyme disease is most commonly diagnosed as a tick borne disease and is transmitted by  another bacterial spirochete called the Borellia. Lyme disease is most commonly transmitted through the deer tick. The tick must be attached to the host for at least 48 hours in order to transmit the Borrelia bacteria to the host. Symptoms of the tick disease include, inflammation of the area in which the tick bit your dog, fever, general malaise, shifting leg lameness, anorexia, stiff walk/arched back and sensitivity to the touch. The chronic form of the disease is characterized by chronic polyarthritis. Lyme disease is endemic in certain parts of the USA such as the New England area. People also get Lyme diseases, however, dogs aren’t the source of infection for people.



Rhinotracheitis (12 months/Annual) This virus causes an upper respiratory infection of the nose and throats in cats. This is a highly contagious virus that can be contracted through first or second hand contact of infected cat. Symptoms of this virus are sudden uncontrollable attacks of sneezing, severe conjunctivitis, squinting of eye, eye and/or nasal discharge, ocular and/or nasal discharge, lack of appetite, fever, and general discomfort.

Calicivirus (12 months/Annual) This virus also causes respiratory disease in cats. The virus lives in and attacks the lungs, nasal passages, mouth, intestines, and musculoskeletal system. It also causes oral ulcers and severe gingivitis. Cats typically can contract calcivirus after contact other infected cats, such as in a shelter, cattery, or boarding facility. The virus is resistant to disinfectants, so cats may come into contact with the virus in almost any environment. Some strains of calici can be very potent and fatal.

Panleukopenia (12 months/Annual) Panleukopenia is also called feline enteritis and is a leading cause of death in kittens. This is a highly contagious virus and can spread by direct contact or through feces. This means that the infected cat can infect their food dishes, bedding, toys, litter boxes and our clothes or selves! The virus attacks the white blood cells in your cat which allows for the virus to take over. Early signs of panleukopenia include loss of appetite, apathy, fever, diarrhea and vomiting of frothy bile. This nasty virus is a strong one and can survive in carpets, cracks, and furnishings for more than a year.

Leukemia (6 months) – Feline leukemia is a fatal virus that kills 85% of infected feline within 3 years of diagnosis. FeLV can cause a multitude of disease including anemia, leukemia, lymphoma and more. However, the most common condition seen is a wasting condition. Although fatal, 70% of cats who come in contact with the virus are able to resist the infection or eliminate the virus on their own. Feline leukemia is contracted through exposure of saliva, blood and more rarely urine/feces from other infected cats. Luckily, the virus does not live long outside of the cat’s body hence it being more difficult to contract from urine or feces. This disease is actually often spread through healthy cats so even if the cat appears normal, there is no true knowing. Some of the signs seen with FeLV infection include: pallor gums, enlarged lymph nodes, infections, weight loss, weakness/fatigue, fever, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.

Venom- It’s Not Just A Heavy Metal Band. Get Your Rattlesnake Vaccines Now!

VENOM flat
BHSAH superstar Scout Bellomo loves to rock out with British heavy metal band Venom! But she doesn’t love it when her dog friends are bitten by venomous rattlesnakes. Protect your dogs with the rattlesnake vaccine!

It’s Spring! And this being Southern California, we are lucky with an amazing availability of hiking trails and campgrounds, some right here in the city, that come alive with vibrant sights and smells in the springtime.

Griffith Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Elysian Park and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area all make for wonderful trips for you and your dog, but with Spring comes the re-emergence of some very dangerous rattlesnakes who also call these wonderful locales their homes.

We highly encourage our patients that have a high potential of rattlesnake exposure to be vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine.

Hike with dog
If you go on hikes, camping trips, or day adventures in natural areas in southern California with your furry love, and run the risk of seeing a rattler, we encourage you to increase your buddy’s likelihood of survival of a snake bite with a rattlesnake vaccine

The rattlesnake vaccine induces the formation of neutralizing antibodies to the rattlesnake venom.  When these antibodies bind to the venom, your dog will exhibit a reduction in the harmful side effects that we normally see with rattlesnake envenomation.  This will give you more time to rush your dog into the nearest emergency hospital for additional treatment.  And when you’re up in the mountains, camping at night, or on a trail in the desert, and your dog is bitten by a snake, what you need most is TIME TIME TIME.

This vaccine is not a magic cloak of immunity for a snake bite, but it WILL increase the likelihood that your dog will survive a rattlesnake bite.

The manufacturers of the rattlesnake vaccine that we use at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital, Red Rock Biologics, developed the vaccine to protect against the venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, and therefore the vaccine is most effective against this type of snake, a common and dangerous snake in Southern California. The vaccine will also provide some protection against bites from other rattlesnakes present in Southern California that have a similar type of venom to the Western Diamondback, such as the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake and the Sidewinder Rattlesnake. The Rattlesnake Vaccine does NOT protect against the Mojave Rattlesnake, or the Arizona Coral Snake.

Dogs, four months and older, can be safely given the rattlesnake vaccine.  Initially two vaccines one month apart are given, and then an annual vaccine is given.  It is highly recommended that the vaccinations be given in early spring just before the emergence of rattlesnakes.     


Pay attention! This Western Diamondback blends perfectly into her surroundings. Be alert when walking your dog in grassy terrain.

A RATTLESNAKE BITE IS ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY! Regardless of whether or not your dog has been vaccinated for rattlesnake bite, it is always imperative that you rush your dog to the closest animal hospital possible as quickly as possible after a snake bite. Every rattlesnake in Southern California is venomous.


  • puncture wounds (can be bleeding)
  • hemorrhaging from the bite wound
  • severe pain
  • swelling
  • restlessness, panting, or drooling
  • lethargy, weakness, sometimes collapse
  • muscle tremors
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • neurological signs including depressed respiration


And here are some additional rattlesnake safety tips, from adoptapet.com:

1. Walk your dog on a 6-foot leash. This will enable you to pull your dog in and change your path if you see a snake ahead of you.

2. Stick to trails. Snakes are more likely to make their homes in dense grass, brush, or rocky areas, off the beaten path.

3. If you see a snake and it is already rattling its tail at you, calmly and slowly back yourself and your dog away, and then leave the area carefully.


(Kickass photo at top by Melanie/Angelo Bellomo/Jonas Rogowski/BHSAH social media advisory team, serene lovely photo in the middle from ak9slife.blogspot.com, Western Diamondback image from junglewalk.com)