Health & Safety

What is Canine Influenza?

Currently, two strains of Canine Influenza have been identified in the U.S. The H3N8 strain of canine influenza was first identified in 2004 in Florida. Since then, it has been found in several other states. In 2015, the H3N2 virus strain was identified as the cause of an outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago. The virus was known to exist in Asia, but the 2015 outbreak was the first report of the H3N2 virus affecting dogs outside of Asia. *

How do I know if my dog has Canine Influenza?

Symptoms of the dog flu include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, lethargy, and appetite loss.  These symptoms can also be symptoms of many other illnesses.  So, if your dog is showing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to visit your veterinarian so that they may test your dog for Canine Influenza.

How contagious is Canine Influenza?

Because Canine Influenza is a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it.  It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs by direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. * Because a dog is contagious before they show any symptoms, it makes the virus hard to contain.  Most veterinarians agree that once a dog is infected, it takes two days to manifest symptoms.

Can a dog die from the flu?

Similar to the flu in humans, few cases result in death, and those cases are resulting from severe pneumonia.  The virus weakens the immune system and bacteria start infecting the lungs.  Puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems are most at risk for developing further complications from the flu.  However, most cases do resolve with prompt treatment.

What if my dog has symptoms of or is diagnosed with the flu?  

If your dog is showing symptoms of the flu, make sure that they see a veterinarian so that they can receive the proper treatment.  Do not bring your dog to Ruff Housing or allow them to be around other dogs until your veterinarian says it is okay to do so. Even if you only suspect or think there is a possibility that your dog may be showing symptoms, be extra cautious and keep them home until you can be sure that the symptoms are not something more serious.

What is Ruff Housing doing?

We are working closely with local veterinarians to keep informed and to keep our clients informed.  We always sanitize our areas daily, most areas multiple times a day.  But we are stepping up our cleaning even more.  As usual, you are bringing your dog to Ruff Housing or any other location at your own risk.  Just as your child’s school would not pay a doctor’s bill if your child gets sick school, Ruff Housing does not pay vet bills if your dog gets sick at our facility.   If we suspect that your dog has symptoms, we will not allow them into our facility.  If they are already in the facility, we will isolate them immediately and ask you to pick them up as soon as possible.  If your dog is boarding with us and you are unable to pick them up, we will contact you if possible, and then take your dog to a veterinarian on your behalf.

Is there a vaccine for the Canine Influenza Virus?

Yes.  But, like the human flu vaccine, the new canine influenza vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection.  However, it can dramatically reduce the severity of the disease.  The vaccine also dramatically reduces the amount of the virus that dogs shed, reducing the spread to other dogs.  We strongly recommend that any dog attending Ruff Housing be vaccinated against Canine Influenza.

Can humans contract Canine Influenza?

No.  There is no evidence that Canine Influenza can be passed to humans.  However, there has been limited evidence that some strains of Canine Influenza have infected cats, guinea pigs and ferrets.

For more information or other questions about Canine Influenza and its effects, please speak with your veterinarian’s office.  If you have questions about Ruff Housing’s practices or policies, you may contact our corporate office at (336) 830-8688.

What are Tapeworms?

Tapeworms are long, flat parasites that attach themselves to the lining of a dog’s small intestine. They have segmented bodies, and each 1/4- to 1/2-inch-long segment contains eggs. Tapeworms are common and are often detected when these segments, which look similar to grains of rice, are seen in a dog’s feces, around its tail or in the area where it sleeps.

Tapeworms require an intermediate host before they can infect a dog, most often a flea that has ingested tapeworm eggs. The larvae then grow inside of the flea. When a dog swallows an infected flea, it gets tapeworms.

Tapeworms typically are not serious health issue and do not cause a dog to appear sick, though they do deprive the dog of some of its nutrition. They are easily detected from a stool sample by your vet, who will treat your dog with oral medication or an injection to get rid of them. Tapeworms are a bigger problem in puppies, because a young dog’s growth rate can be affected by them.

The most common way to prevent tapeworms is to control fleas in your dog’s environment and keep it away from dead animals and garbage.

What are Puppy Warts?

Puppy warts are small bumps between a dog’s lips and gumline, or on its tongue. They are caused by the Canine Papilloma Virus and are typically benign. The warts look like pale pink raspberries or little pieces of cauliflower and can be compared to chicken pox in humans, because once a dog is exposed to the virus and warts develop, the dog usually does not get them again.

Puppy warts are usually seen in dogs under 2 years old because their immune systems are less effective. The virus is transferred by dogs touching noses or through saliva when they share toys. It is virtually impossible to prevent puppy warts, because the virus is contagious up to two weeks before an actual wart appears.

Puppy warts usually go away in about six weeks, and veterinarians typically do not prescribe medication unless the warts remain for six months or longer. Occasionally when the number of warts makes it difficult for a dog to eat, a vet may surgically remove them. Canine Papilloma Virus is not a serious health risk and is often considered a rite of passage that many pups go through before reaching adulthood.

What is Canine Cough?

Just as humans get colds, so do dogs. In dogs, we usually call these “colds” or coughs “Canine Cough” or “Kennel Cough”.  Canine Cough or Kennel Cough are common names for tracheobronchitis, a contagious upper-respiratory condition caused by the Bordetella virus, adenovirus, or parainfluenza virus. The main symptoms that dogs get are a cough, runny nose and sometimes sneezing.

Although we require that all dogs that come to Ruff Housing are current on their Bordetella vaccinations, the vaccines do not protect against every strain of these types of infections, much like a human flu vaccine will not protect you from getting a cold.  If your veterinarian states that your dog’s Bordetella vaccine is valid for a 12-month period, we are fine with that.  However, we recommend Bordetella vaccines every 6 months for better protection.

The symptoms of Canine Cough typically last from a few days to several weeks.  Although they do not usually develop into anything more serious, if your dog does present with symptoms, we do recommend that they see a veterinarian since they can be more succeptible to secondary illnesses and antibiotics may be necessary.  But, you should call your veterinarian because many do not want you to bring your dog into their office if they are showing symptoms.   Puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakend immune systems may be more succeptible to all health conditions.  So, if you have concerns, consult with your veterinarian before deciding if a boarding facility or group play is a good fit for your dog.

Just as an Elementary school can not prevent colds, Ruff Housing can not prevent Canine Cough. Dogs can be contagious for several days before their symptoms become present making it impossible to identify a dog that may be contagious.  However, there are things that we do to minimize the frequency and the spread of it.

We use high-quality cleaning products and our cleaning processes go well beyond state requirements.  Canine Cough is airborne, so even amazing cleaning will not prevent it, but it does help.   We also have state-of-the-art air handling systems that, again, are well above the requirements for facilites of our kind. They have lots of fresh air exchange in the building, which helps minimize the transfer of airborne pathogens.

If a dog is showing symptoms, we have areas where they can be separated from other dogs until they can be picked up by their parents.  If your dog is coughing or showing other symptoms, for the safety of your dog and others, please do not bring them to Ruff Housing until they are well again and have not shown symptoms for several days.

What is Canine Bloat?

Canine bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus) is a rapid swelling of a dog’s stomach, which becomes filled with excess gas, fluid or food, enlarges, and twists the esophagus and intestines shut. Bloat is an unpredictable, life-threatening emergency that primarily occurs in large, deep-chested breeds like Great Danes, German Shepherds, Collies, Dobermans and Boxers. Although the cause of bloat is unknown, eating and drinking too much and too fast seem to be contributing factors, along with heavy exercise after eating. Symptoms of bloat include vomiting, dry heaves, weakness, restlessness, excessive drooling, pale gums, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, cold body temperature, and standing with the head and neck extended. Dogs with bloat will go into shock, collapse and die if not treated. A veterinarian will X-ray the dog’s abdomen and may attempt to decrease the pressure by decompressing the stomach. Emergency surgery is required if the stomach has rotated. After a bloating incident, a dog’s chances for another occurrence increase. Your vet may suggest a surgery to tack your dog’s stomach in place in hopes of preventing a recurrence of bloat.