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Canine Influenza Virus Hits Parker County

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV or “Dog Flu”) has finally arrived in Parker County. On Tuesday, August 20th, 2013, diagnostic laboratory information confirmed that a new client’s shelter (Weatherford Animal Shelter) adopted dog was suffering from Dog Flu. At our expense, we have been testing dogs that are symptomatic shelter adoptions for the past 2 yrs. Through our vigilance we have caught the arrival of this disease at the earliest possible moment. We want to  assure all of our clients that we did not hospitalize this infected dog and only treated it as an outpatient. The exam room and entire waiting/lobby area was disinfected immediately and no dogs in our care have been affected in any manner by this disease.

This is a highly contagious airborne canine only influenza virus that causes high fever, coughing, and severe pneumonia. Dog Flu can cause mortality rates between 5% to 20% even with aggressive treatment. Two pre-exposure vaccinations are required about 2 weeks apart for dogs 6 weeks of age and older along with annual boosters. At risk dogs are dogs that come in direct contact (fences are not an effective barrier) with other dogs. Also, dogs that go to dog parks, public parks, walk in retail stores where other dogs are, go to dog shows, training classes, or are housed with other dogs in a grooming shop, boarding kennel, or vet hospital may be exposed. Dogs that run loose on the streets are at the most risk of coming into contact with infected stray dogs.

Due to its highly contagious nature all dogs staying in our hospital are now required to be immunized against Dog Flu. This means all boarding canines and dogs being admitted for treatment/surgery/hospitalization must be vaccinated prior to admitting. We understand that it is another vaccine with its own financial burden ($21 per vaccine dose), but the significance of this disease cannot be underestimated. There are several Texas veterinary hospitals, grooming shops, and boarding kennels that have been devastated by Dog Flu to the point of shutting their doors for 30 days to disinfect their premises.

For the safety and convenience of our current clients and their dogs, we are providing Dog Flu vaccinations as a Technician only visit with no exam/office call charge. Dogs must be healthy, and have been examined by our doctors with the last 18 months. Clients may also have their dog immunized for Dog Flu and other vaccines at their regular annual exam/vaccination appointment. All new patients will need an appointment, and by Texas law must be examined by our doctors prior to all services. Please call our office at 817-596-0909 for an appointment. For more information on Canine Influenza Virus go to the Center for Disease Control at the following web address: www.cdc.gov/flu/canine/.

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Following the dream of owning his own hospital, Dr. Pat Jarrett purchased the Parker County Veterinary Hospital in 1985. Originally, it was a mixed practice that included all animals. He used to say, “If it walks, crawls, flies or dies, I’ll treat it!” Horse colic’s at 2am, trimming parakeet wings, gluing the cracked shell on a turtle, delivering a two headed calf, midnight c-sections on a 100# female Irish Setter, turning down a request to declaw an African lioness, x-raying a pregnant Iguana, bone platting the fractured leg of a potbelly pig, and removing a rubber ball from a cat’s intestine are just some of the general practice challenges that occurred. Giving in to age and knee problems, Dr. Jarrett limited services to small animals since 1991. His hospital provides veterinary care for dogs, cats, rabbits, and pocket pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, pet mice/rats, and gerbils.

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