Is the next San Luis Obispo Pet Emergency Dog Flu… or not?  At Mission Animal Hospital, our goal is to treat your pet just exactly like we do our own loved and spoiled pets. 

next San Luis Obispo pet emergency-- dog flu?
Our phone has been ringing off the hook with calls regarding the canine flu “epidemic”, which has been very well publicized in online media.   Because of this concern, we wanted to give you a little more information on canine flu, in the hopes that local dog families can a) take a deep breath, and b) make the best decision for their pet’s wellness.
Lots of folks are worried that Dog Flu is the Next San Luis Obispo Pet Emergency.  But is this really true, or are vaccine manufacturers and a few veterinarians simply trying to make a few extra dollars off us?
Here are some fun facts for you to consider regarding the canine flu:
  • The dog flu virus is in NO way related to the human flu virus, which IS creating serious problems for us humans this year.
  • The dog flu virus is NOT contagious to humans, although there is evidence it can spread to cats.
  • Since it was first diagnosed 11 years ago, it has gradually spread to most of the contiguous US
  • There are two active “hot spots” of canine flu– one back east, and one in the greater San Francisco Bay area.
  • According to Cornell University, which is studying the dog flu virus, there have been just over 240 cases in the greater SF Bay area.  Here is a link to their dog flu website with data updates.
  • Given that the Bay area is estimated to have over 1 million dogs, the incidence rate is actually extremely low.
  • While the dog flu virus is extremely contagious– just like the human flu– it has about the same mortality rate of less than 1%– in particular, the very young and the very old patients.  Sound familiar?
  • The typical symptoms of dog flu mirror that of typical kennel cough– wheezing, coughing, runny eyes.
  • Just like the human flu, the dog flu is centered where dogs come into close contact– at boarding kennels, dog parks, dog day care, and shows.
  • Dogs remain contagious for about 3 weeks after they become infected.
  • How can we tell if your dog has the flu instead of the more common kennel cough?  A blood test that will set you back about $160
Is there a dog flu vaccine available?  Yes, and we have it in stock.  For maximum protection, your dog should get two shots initially at a one month interval, and then annually.  Each vaccine costs about $42.  Please understand that a dog is not fully protected immediately after one vaccine, but rather after two vaccines– and a month’s time– the protection rate is 80-90%
Are there downsides to vaccinating a dog against the canine flu virus?  We at Mission Animal Hospital believe in customizing a pet’s preventive health to their individual risks, and so we advise ALWAYS considering both sides of the vaccine equation.   There are two factors to consider:
  •  Vaccine reactions, which are honestly pretty darn rare
  •  More of a concern is the inflammation associated with vaccines, which as integrative veterinarians we believe can worsen the symptoms of allergies, arthritis, and other health issues.
Are there other ways of avoiding the next San Luis Obispo pet emergency– the dog flu– without a vaccine?  Sure.  Minimize a dog’s contact with other dogs, and your odds of avoiding the canine flu skyrocket.
What should you do if your dog develops the cough and lethargy that could mean a flu infection?
  • In general, if a pet is still eating, playing, and the symptoms last only 2-3 days,  you are probably OK
  • If a pet stops eating or if the symptoms persist, then we should examine them– not particularly because of the flu, but rather because a cough and inappetance can be caused by other, more serious health issues.
  • ANY TIME you are worried– we are here for you.  Seven (7) days a week.
So– SHOULD you vaccinate your dog against the next San Luis Obispo pet emergency– canine flu?  Hey, we make about $15 per vaccine, so from a business perspective perhaps all dogs should be vaccinated!!  A more serious answer, though, would be this:
It depends.  Here is a logical approach to protecting San Luis Obispo dogs against the flu:
  •  If you want to take ALL possible steps to safeguard a pet, then YES
  • If dogs are going to the Bay area and will be spending time there with other dogs, then YES.
  • If dogs have to be boarded and you trust the kennel… then ask them or vaccinate.
  • If dogs go to dog parks on a daily basis, then probably yes
  • If dogs are just in the backyard, or whose contact with other dogs is limited, then no.
  • If dogs have allergies, arthritis, cancer, or other inflammatory diseases, then NO… NO… NO.
The bottom line?  If you have a pet health concern, PLEASE call or stop by MAH so that we can talk it through.
The best protection for your dog is NOT a vaccine– it is a partnership between you and us!!
Drum roll please!!  WE ARE OFFICIALLY INTRODUCING THE MISSION ANIMAL HOSPITAL APP!! The Mission AH app will enable you to request a pet’s records, appointments and refills online, and enable us to text back and forth.  But wait– it will also enable us to display your pet’s SELFIES.  And here is the best part– it enables us to offer you a LOYALTY PROGRAM.  Every $100 you spend, referral of a friend, or 5-star Yelp review gets you a “punch”, and 12 punches get you a $100 credit on your account.  And it’s FREE.  How cool is that?
Here is a link for Google phone users to download our FREE app:
 And here is a link for iPhone users to download our FREE app:
We are also beginning our WELLNESS PLANS, which enable you to make monthly payments on  the wellness care every pet needs for optimum health.  These plans include FREE VACCINES (including that pesky flu vaccine mentioned above), DENTAL CLEANINGS, and even TELEMEDICINE consults for your convenience.
Have a FABULOUS day…..