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As some of you may already know, A local dog day care shut down, because a number of dogs contracted the canine flu. At A Walk in the Park we take that very seriously. Canine flu easily spreads between dogs that are in close contact, like a vets office, grooming salon or dog day care.

Since we never had an outbreak here and it was hard to determine what the likelihood was of that happening, we always recommended that our clients talked to their vet about getting the vaccine or not. As of today our policies will have to be stricter.

Take your dog to the vet this week and start the vaccination process immediately. We will start requiring this vaccine for all the dogs that come to us for any service. So far we haven't seen any illness here at the ranch. To keep it that way, we ask that everyone keep their dog at home if they have been to the dog park, another groomer or another day care/boarding facility.

Effective immediately, we will no longer accept dogs from out of town. We hope that this will reduce the risk of spreading this disease in our area. Also keep your dog at home for 3 weeks if you have taken your dog out of town or if your dog has been exposed to a dog from out of town. Once again, we want to reduce the risk of exposure to all the dogs here at the ranch.

Older dogs or dogs with a compromised immunity are at greater risk. We recommend you keep them at home for a while, till this passes.

There are two major types of influenza in dogs, H3N8 and H3N2, there are vaccines for both viruses. We recommend that everyone gets their dog vaccinated. Remember that just like with a human flu shot, it takes time for the vaccine to become effective. Also, remember that this canine influenza vaccine needs a booster. We recommend you get this done right away. We will make it mandatory.

So far no one on the ranch has shown symptoms, but dogs can be infected and shed the virus without showing any signs for a couple of days. We will keep a close eye on things and respond immediately if the situation changes. Keep an eye on your dog for symptoms. This condition is often mistaken for kennel cough, since the dogs get a dry, unproductive cough. They can also have nasal discharge, they might be sneezing, they might get goopy eyes, be lethargic and lose their appetite. When you suspect your dog might be sick, keep him away from other dogs and take him or her to the vet immediately. Please let us know if anything is going on with your dog so we can let other clients know if something is going around.

For those of you that enjoy the dog walk, we will cancel those for now, until this passes. We are thinking early December things should have cleared up and we will resume the walk, weather permitting. I want to urge everyone to be watchful and proactive, but don't panic. Just keep a close eye out.

Dirk Broersma

Dirk Broersma