by Jennifer Mikuta, WPC Pet Sitter and Vet Tech
With the emergence of several cases of the K-9 Influenza Virus in Chicago, IL and cases here in Wisconsin many pet owners are worried that their pet may contract the virus via their pet sitter. While we at WPC have not come into contact with a case of the K-9 flu, that does not mean we do not take precautions. Rest assured our team is versed in the signs and protocol for dealing with the K-9 flu should a case arise.
Our sitters are on the lookout for any symptoms of the flu which are as follows. ”Just like when people get the flu, you can expect your dog to sneeze, have a runny nose, and cough,” says Barry N. Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Other symptoms are tiredness and lack of appetite.
Some dogs also can have a fever of 104-106 F. Some may also have difficulty breathing, the flu can result in pneumonia in younger and older dogs.
As a general precaution our sitters wash their hands after every sit whether there is a current risk of flu or not. Should one of our sitters suspect a dog in their care is sick they call the owner to alert them and recommend a visit to the veterinarian.
Our safety protocol then kicks in, according to the AVMA the K-9 Influenza virus can be passed to another dog through contact with a persons clothing or surfaces that have been in contact with a dog who has the flu. The sitter will then go through the process of disinfecting surfaces, changing into a new set of clothing before getting into their car, which can be done in a environment without the dog present such as a garage, and disinfecting their hands after removing clothes and before putting new clothes on. The clothing that has been exposed to the flu is placed in a bag and put in the trunk of their car. If were to have a client with a confirmed case of the flu we will not be servicing them while they have the flu as we will not risk any spread of a confirmed case.
It is our hope at WPC that none of our clients come down with the flu. Should the flu occur we will be making sure all of our clients are as safe as possible from contracting the flu. Each of our clients is special to us and we take the possible emergence of the flu within our client base very seriously. If your dog is suspect please alert us immediately.