What you Need to Know About Canine Influenza H3N2

In December 2017 greyhound dogs from South Korea were brought to the United States via a Rescue organization, two dogs from this group were exported to Southwestern Ontario. These dogs were the first recorded cases of H3N2 a form of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in Canada; this disease was first observed in the United States in 2015. H3N2 is a virus that is believed to have originated in Asia from an avian stream that has adapted to dogs. Currently, H3N2 has not been shown to cause disease in humans.

The disease often looks like other upper respiratory diseases, including “Kennel Cough” and signs include coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever. This disease affects dogs of any age but is more severe in young and old pets and brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed dogs like Pugs and Bulldogs). Treatment is supportive care, and clinical signs can last for 2-3 weeks with most dogs recovering uneventfully, complications are uncommon but can include pneumonia.

The disease spreads from direct contact with affected dogs and via water bowls, balls, leashes etc. Shedding of the virus can start 24 hours before clinical signs start and although it isn’t known how long shedding can occur it is recommended to isolate exposed dogs for up to 3 weeks. The virus is thought to be able to survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, so careful hygiene at boarding kennels and daycare facilities is essential.

We have had several calls inquiring about a vaccine and what we should do about prevention of this disease. There is an available vaccine, and although it isn’t 100% effective, it can decrease the severity of the infection and control the spread of disease by reducing the amount of virus a pet could shed. The current outbreak has been contained in Ontario, but you should consider vaccinations if you are travelling to the United States or Southwestern Ontario, especially if you will be going to dog shows or boarding kennels. We would also recommend vaccinating your dogs if you are planning on fostering dogs that have been imported from Asia or the United States.

Written by Dr. Jane Corkum, DVM


The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: September 15, 2021

Dear Clients,

The health and safety of both you and our staff is our top priority. We appreciate your help in keeping our community safe by following our COVID-19 policies:

  • Masks are required for all clients entering our hospital, as well as for all our staff
  • 1 client per exam room allowed (exceptions will be made for end of life procedures)
  • Credit cards are the preferred method of payment
  • Curbside pickup of food and medication is still available. Please call ahead of time so that we can have your order ready upon your arrival. A reminder that we require 48 hours notice for food and prescription orders. To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".

    Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital