[Homestead] Warning About Deadly Canine Flu

Lynda lurine at softcom.net
Tue Sep 28 14:45:17 EDT 2004

 Deadly ‘Canine Flu’ found in county

 Originally published on Wednesday, September 22
 By Tom Fink

 Rogers County veterinarians have been seeing an aggressive and, until
recently, unknown virus in dogs that has already been the cause of an
estimated 25  canine deaths in and around the county.

 “Within the past few weeks, we’ve had some animals come to us who were
basically emaciated — completely dehydrated,” said Hooves, Paws and Claws
Veterinarian Dr. Lesleigh Cash-Warren. “Their owners brought them in,
assuming it to be Parvo, since the symptoms were very similar.”

A Survivor

Wildheart Ranch owner and director Annette King-Tucker flooded veterinary
clinics around the country with inquiries by e-mail about the “mysterious
sickness,” that was killing dogs within 24 hours of symptoms. “Chica” was
one of the first to receive treatment and be cured of the “Canine Flu.”

Symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting and general lethargy.

 “This should be a ‘Red Alert’ to all veterinarians and pet-owners in the
area,” she said. “We’re dealing with something that acts like a Parvo virus,
but it is indeed not Parvo — it’s not something we routinely see, and the
steadfast part of it is that the animals who contract it die within 24 to 48
hours of showing clinical signs of it.”

Dr. Cash credits animal rescuer Annette King-Tucker with identifying the
virus and its cure.

 “About three months ago, I started getting calls from pet-owners whose dogs
were showing Parvo-like symptoms — vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy — and their
dogs were literally dropping dead within 24 hours of showing the symptoms,”
King-Tucker said. “A few weeks ago, one of my babies — Bill, a gorgeous,
totally healthy 60-pound St. Bernard — threw up, and within 24 hours, he
quite literally dropped dead.”

When her Chihuahua “Chica” started showing similar symptoms, King-Tucker
wasted no time, taking her to Hooves, Paws and Claws, and sending out about
8,000 ” e-mail inquiries to veterinary clinics across the country.

 “I sent out so many e-mails and had so many people hang up on me when I was
trying to find out what this was,” King-Tucker said. “I knew that it wasn’t
poisoning or Parvo and that it killed dogs within a day of them showing
signs of it.”

 King-Tucker’s efforts eventually paid off, when one of her e-mails elicited
an informed answer.

 “I got a call from a lady in Arkansas who told me that what we were seeing
was Campybacteriosis, better known as ‘Canine Flu’ or ‘Dog Show Crud,’
because it had originated in dog shows on the west coast,” King-Tucker said.
“She knew about it because they’d been dealing with it in Arkansas for the
past two years.”

“Being a mixed animal practitioner, this particular disease is something I
would normally see in cattle — I’ve never seen it in canines — ever,” Dr.
Cash said. “It’s something that would never be on my differential list for
something to be found in canines, so we’re very grateful for Annette’s
efforts in researching it.”

 King-Tucker attributes the appearance of the “Canine Flu” in Rogers County
 the unusual summer weather.

 “We haven’t seen weather patterns like this in 40 years,” King-Tucker said.
With Oklahoma’s summer weather being similar to that of the west coast this
 year, conditions were ideal for this bacteria to grow and thrive here.
Hopefully, we’ll get relief with the colder weather this winter — that’s
what I’m believing will happen.”

 A main source of the bacteria comes from fecal matter and non-chlorinated
water, such as that found in ponds, streams, puddles and other stagnant or
standing water.

 “If a dog’s been in a kennel-type situation or anywhere they could have
eaten raw or undercooked meat and trash, they’re at a higher risk,” Dr. Cash
said. “What makes the ‘Canine Flu’ so dangerous is that, by the time you
test the  animal to determine what kind of bacteria it has, the animal could
already be  dead.”

 Particularly susceptible to the virus are pups, older dogs, and dogs with
weaker immunities, but as was evidenced by the death of King-Tucker’s St.
Bernard, even larger dogs aren’t immune from the virus.

 Dr. Cash said that, thus far, the virus has been restricted to canines, but
could be contracted by humans and manifest itself as a stomach virus.

 Thus far, no reports of felines contracting the virus have been reported to
Hooves, Paws and Claws.

 While the treatment for “Canine Flu” is simple and effective — rehydration
and antibiotics such as Tetracycline and Erythromycin — timing is crucial.

 “We’re wanting to get the word out everyone, and to share all the
information we have with vets in the area,” she said. “Even if you’ve
vaccinated an animal for Parvo, if you notice it not feeling well —
vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy — please have them checked out — you’ve got
about a 24 hour window to get  them treatment, otherwise the treatment won’t

 For King-Tucker, though, the discovery of “Canine Flu” was a bittersweet
find — at the cost of her St. Bernard.

 “I’ve talked to dozens of people whose pets had contracted this same,
mysterious virus that killed them, literally within 12 to 24 hours of them
seeing any symptoms,” she said. “Even though I lost Bill, if his death
motivated me to find out what this virus is, and how to treat it, so that I
can inform other  people and save maybe 100 other pets — including Chica —
it was worth it.”

 For more information about the “Canine Flu,” visit the Wildheart Ranch
online at http://www.wildheartranch.org/, or call Hooves, Paws and Claws at

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