Canine Influenza Found in San Diego County

July 13, 2012 | 2:27pm

The San Diego County Department of Animal Services is alerting the public that a dog from the County shelter in Bonita has tested positive for canine influenza.

Canine influenza was first recognized in Florida in 2004 and has been spreading steadily across the United States. While this disease has been reported in California, this is the first time County Animal Services (DAS) has seen it here in San Diego County.

“We have periodically been testing dogs at our shelter in Bonita for several years and this is the first dog that has tested positive. The test confirms the disease exists in San Diego County,” said DAS Director Dawn Danielson. 

The virus spreads from one sick dog to another through sneezing or coughing; or through contaminated objects such as the hands or clothing of a person handling the dog. Canine influenza is not transmittable to people.

The disease, while found throughout shelters and communities in many states, is rarely diagnosed as canine influenza. The symptoms include a mild low-grade fever; a soft, moist or dry cough lasting 10-30 days, a thick nasal discharge and no response to antibiotics. While many dogs may not show any symptoms, others will get sick enough to require treatment. As with people who get influenza, if a dog’s system is compromised, the disease can lead to death.

Animal Services encourages owners to keep their dogs as healthy as possible by making sure they’re current on their primary vaccinations. If owners have any concerns their dogs may have canine influenza, they should contact their veterinarian. For more information about County Animal Services, visit www.sddac.com.