Tag Archives: virus

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)

Ebola and Pets: Why You Should NOT Be Afraid

BHSAH superstar Mr. Boo models the latest in surgical headwear.
BHSAH superstar Mr. Boo models the latest in surgical headwear.

Considering the current epidemic of Ebola in a few western countries of Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and somewhat in Nigeria), and the fact that an Ebola patient’s dog was euthanized in Spain amidst growing fear associated with the disease, we at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital thought we should address the growing fear of Ebola, and Ebola as it relates to our beloved pets.

You have nothing to fear about dogs and cats contracting and spreading Ebola in the United States.

Even in the western African nations that currently are dealing with a massive Ebola epidemic, there have been no reports of dogs or cats catching or spreading Ebola.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Ebola virus is only known to spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person or other animal who is actively sick with Ebola (showing symptoms). These fluids include urine, blood, feces, vomit, semen, sweat, and breast milk.

Currently, only a few species of mammals have been proven to have the ability to contract and spread Ebola (including humans, monkeys, apes). Some scientists believe Forest antelope and fruit bats are also carriers, as well as some species of rodents and some pigs and goats – but these animals have not been proven to transmit the disease.

There has been one well-known study conducted about dogs and Ebola, published in 2005.  After a 2001-2002 outbreak of Ebola in the western African nation of Gabon, researchers tested several hundred domestically-kept dogs that hunted and ate local animals that could have been infected with Ebola in their surrounding area. The study indicated that about 25% of the dogs had antibodies to Ebola but none were found to have Ebola virus and none of them died of Ebola.





The risk of someone in the U.S. becoming ill with Ebola is very low, and even lower in Los Angeles County. The risk of someone who is infected with Ebola giving Ebola to their dog or cat is even lower. The risk of a dog or cat who has become infected with Ebola spreading it to humans is even lower than that.

If you are a nurse or doctor or family member or friend of someone who has Ebola, or someone who has had contact with someone who has Ebola, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends minimizing contact with your pet until you have been proven to be free and clear of the disease.

Here are the two cases about Ebola and dogs that have been in the news:

Romero's partner Javier Romero with their dog Excalibur.
Romero’s partner Javier Romero with their dog Excalibur. (Family photo)

Teresa Romero, the Spanish nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola while treating a missionary worker who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, is now clear of the disease – but during her quarantine, the Spanish government decided to euthanize her dog Excalibur because, they decided, he could have spread the disease. The authorities in Spain did this without testing the dog, amidst much protest from Romero’s family and the Spanish public. Some protestors are now asking for Spain’s health minister Ana Mato to resign because of her decision to put Excalibur down. Excalibur was never shown to have signs of Ebola and was never tested.

Here is an article about the protests that arose when Excalibur was put down:



Nina Pham with her loving buddy Bentley
Nina Pham taking a selfie with her loving buddy Bentley (Facebook photo)

Texas nurse Nina Pham, who was diagnosed with Ebola after treating an Ebola patient in Dallas who eventually died,  is now Ebola-free – but she had to wait 21 days for her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, to come out of a government-mandated quarantine. Bentley is fine, tested negative for Ebola several times, and was released to Pham when his quarantine ended on November 1st. The animal workers taking care of Bentley took his high-profile quarantine as an opportunity to raise public awareness about Dallas Animal Services, and posted several updates and photos about Bentley’s well-being on their Twitter feed @DallasShelter. You can even purchase a “Bentley-Approved” T-shirt on their website, the proceeds of which will go towards the Dallas Animal Services shelters.

Here is an article about their reunion from CNN.com:


In neither of these cases did the family pets actually become sick with Ebola, their respective governments were just being hyper-vigilant because of widespread fear and panic associated with the Ebola virus.

If you still have questions about the health and safety of your pet, contact your veterinarian. Or, for more information about Ebola and Ebola as it relates to our pets, here are some resources:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)


(800) 248-2862

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Dial 211



California Department of Public Health

(916) 558-1784



Center for Disease Control and Prevention

(800) CDC-INFO





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.