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Flu season taking a toll on dogs in the area

– Flu season is taking its toll in the South Bay, not only with people, but even their pets. Veterinarians are warning of a canine flu outbreak.

Vets stress it can’t be transmitted from dog-to-person.. But it can get on your clothes, and then be transmitted to another dog that way. Or more commonly, from one dog to another at places such as dog parks.

Nine-month old Maggie is a pit bull mix that shows plenty of personality as she plays in Raymond Gamma Dog Park in Campbell. Her owner, Malik Holmes, says he brought his new “best girl” home weeks ago, only now to here whispers from neighbors that sparked his first big worry..

“They’re saying there’s a flu going around for dogs, and stuff like that. And I’m scared mine’s gonna get injured, or catch the flu,” said Holmes.

Veterinarian Shadi Ireifej says a canine flu is sweeping the South Bay. His emergency clinic in Campbell confirmed it’s fourth case Wednesday night, to go along with 50 dogs showing flu-like symptoms such as coughing, over the past two weeks.

“We’ve never seen this. Doctors that have been here 10 years plus, they’ve never seen canine influenza period,” said Dr. Ireifej.

Two strains are present in California – H3N8 and H3N2. This map shows the at least one of the strains has been present for the past nine years. But both have exploded nationally since 2015.

“There must have been a canine entering the state and the Bay Area that was infected with the ah virus. And from that point on because it’s so contagious, just began to spread to other dogs. And now we’re seeing it,” Dr. Ireifej said.

At the Raymond Gamma Dog Park, some owners says they’ll be more cautious after learning of the canine flu outbreak..

“It’s our first time out since it’s been raining the past two days. And may head home after this,” said Mike Navarro, owner of a two year old German Sheppard-Lab mix named Jax.

Vets advise avoiding places such as dog parks and kennels to reduce the threat of infection. Also, don’t let your dog play with contaminated toys, or let them drink after other dogs from a public dish.. Get your dog a flu shot, and if sick, keep your pet home..

“I would hope that if people knew their dog was sick, they’d leave them at home,” said Navarro.

However, KTVU talked to a dog owner who says his pooch, “Romeo,” had been sick with flu symptoms a few days ago. So he kept the animal indoors until the illness past. But he has not taken the animal for a flu shot. Symptoms of the dog flu are similar to the human flu – sneezing coughing, lethargy, and a fever. Experts say the best thing is to get your pet do a vet and get it a flu shot.

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

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A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease or to other causes during the 12-year follow-up.

A total of more than 3.4 million individuals without any prior in 2001 were included in the researchers’ study linking together seven different national data sources, including two dog ownership registers. The results are being published for the first time in Scientific Reports. The goal was to determine whether dog owners had a different risk of cardiovascular disease and death than non-dog owners.

“A very interesting finding in our study was that dog ownership was especially prominent as a protective factor in persons living alone, which is a group reported previously to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death than those living in a multi-person household. Perhaps a dog may stand in as an important family member in the single households. The results showed that single dog owners had a 33 percent reduction in risk of death and 11 percent reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease during follow-up compared to single non-owners. Another interesting finding was that owners to dogs from breed groups originally bred for hunting were most protected,” says Mwenya Mubanga, lead junior author of the study and PhD student at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University.

In Sweden, every person carries a unique personal identity number. Every visit to a hospital is recorded in national databases, accessible to researchers after de-identification of data. Even dog ownership registration has been mandatory in Sweden since 2001. These scientists studied whether being registered as a dog-owner was associated with later diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or death from any cause.

“These kind of epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations but do not provide answers on whether and how dogs could protect from cardiovascular disease. We know that dog owners in general have a higher level of physical activity, which could be one explanation to the observed results. Other explanations include an increased well-being and social contacts or effects of the dog on the bacterial microbiome in the owner,” says Tove Fall, senior author of the study and Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University.

“There might also be differences between owners and non-owners already before buying a dog, which could have influenced our results, such as those people choosing to get a dog tending to be more active and of better health. Thanks to the population-based design, our results are generalisable to the Swedish population, and probably also to other European populations with similar culture regarding dog ownership,” says Tove Fall.

How To Stop Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a very stressful behavioral issue that effects a huge percentage of the dog population, possibly as high as 14%. It is one of the most misunderstood issues with people trying to treat it by approaching it from a human point of view and failing to see the cause. The answer to how to stop separation is simple. Show your dog that you are the pack leader. Let me explain.

Recognizing that the following behaviors are symptoms is a start. They are as wide ranging as they are distressing for the dog, but by treating them you are not treating the cause of the problem. First ask yourself the question; does the behavior stop when you return? If so then I suggest that you’re being away is actually connected to the cause. Lets take a look at a few of the key symptoms.

Chewing –releases an endorphin similar to the one released when a human is chewing gum in an attempt to stay calm.
Barking, whining – this is a call for the owners to return to the pack, similar to if you were to call your children when you can’t find them
Escaping when you are not there – often very destructive, extreme and sometimes dangerous. Your dog is looking for you. So many people are told to try and exercise the problem out of their dog but it will not solve the problem
Digging, destruction – this is all connected to stressful and anxious behavior.
Self-mutilation – excessive, licking and chewing oneself. Excessive drooling is also a sign of stress. These are signs that are often mistaken for being medical conditions but are all stress related
Toileting – if your dog is toilet trained but starts going toilet inside and you think that it is behavioral then it could well be. If it is only occurring when your dog is away from you then it is very likely connected to your dog having separation anxiety
Whilst there are lots of places that you can find advice on how to treat all these symptoms there is only one way to treat the cause of the problem. If you are serious about how to stop separation anxiety then you must become the pack leader.

Separation anxiety is a very straight forward problem that occurs when your dog believes they are the pack leader and your are their puppy or member of their pack. In the wild dogs do not wander off out the den on their own and your dogs separation anxiety will continue until you return to him. Once you show your dog that you are the pack leader your dog will be fine with you coming and going as you please.

One of the best places to understand more about establishing yourself as the pack leader is the video based web site The Online Dog Trainer run by professional dog trainer Doggy Dan. Understanding the real cause of the problem is the first step, becoming the pack leader is the solution. CLICK HERE

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