To All of our Charlotte Barker Loungers:
By now, it’s probably safe to assume that the majority of you have seen or read about the Canine Influenza Virus that is creeping around the country. Luckily it hasn't quite made it's way to Charlotte. We'd like to help create as much awareness as possible to keep it that way!
To be clear, this is not Canine Cough (or Kennel Cough) with which most of you are familiar. This is a relatively new cause of virus in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection. While symptoms and severity are similar to those of Canine Cough and the two are often mistaken, this disease is more contagious.
The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections characterized by the onset of pneumonia.
Dogs have no natural immunity to it. This means that many of your pets can get it from simply being “out and about”, if we are not careful and responsible in managing it. We are working very closely with local veterinarians and other pet care facilities in the area to closely monitor the situation and do everything we can to keep it out of our facility, out of Charlotte, and away from your dogs!
How Can You Help?
We are asking for your help as well. Please keep an eye out for the symptoms described above. If you notice your dog has a cough, a runny nose, a fever, seems lethargic, or out of sorts in any way, we encourage you to contact your vet so that they can recommend an appropriate course of treatment. This is especially true of very young dogs, very old dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems.
If it is determined that your dog does have the virus, or even if you simply suspect that he has it, we kindly ask that you notify us immediately and that you do not bring your dog back to our facility for at least 3 weeks after his/her symptoms disappear or with a letter from your veterinarian stating that your dog is in good health and in no way contagious to our other guests.
We also ask that you exercise great caution if your dog regularly has contact with other dogs, or regularly participates in any environment where dogs gather (groomers, other daycare or boarding facilities, dog parks, etc). If you do frequent other pet care facilities, at this time we respectfully ask you to refrain from using ours. While we understand that this may be inconvenient, it is a far better alternative than increasing the likelihood of your dog and the dogs of others getting ill. Remember, a portion of all infected dogs will not show any symptoms and yet still shed the virus to others. There is no such thing as being overly cautious!
As we work with others in the community to responsibly keep this virus at bay and away from your doggies, we will remain transparent with all of you and are asking you to do the same. We will post updates on Facebook and on our website and will be more than happy to answer any questions that have via email or telephone.
Can't The Barker Lounge prevent my dog from catching Canine Influenza?
While the spread of Canine Influenza can be minimized by denying access to obviously sick animals, proper cleaning, isolating obviously sick animals, and properly ventilating the facility, no amount of supervision, sanitation, or personalized care is guaranteed to be 100% effective against the illness.
All that a good pet care facility can do is require that all admitted guests are healthy to the best of everyone’s knowledge, refuse to admit an obviously sick dog, follow responsible cleaning and sanitation practices, listen and watch for any signs of sickness, and make sure that any dog requiring veterinary attention receives it promptly.
It is important to understand that, just like the flu vaccines for humans, the vaccine that is used to prevent Canine Influenza does not guarantee prevention. There is not even evidence suggesting that the vaccine is effective against some strains of it. So even though your dog may have been vaccinated against Canine Influenza, it is still possible for your dog to contract it. This is best understood when thinking about it in terms of the flu in children; a child who attends daycare/school and has received a flu shot can (and often does) still get the flu, right?
Great time and care goes into our efforts to keep our guests safe and healthy. This includes the way that we manage our airflow, our cleaning and sanitation protocols, our vaccination policies and other safety procedures. But despite these efforts, events such as this are sometimes an unfortunate inevitability in this industry. Please know that our facility has been very carefully designed by our Franchise team with these very types of situations in mind. We have different sections of our facility with completely different air spaces. The rate of air exchange in these different areas, as well as the flow and purification of this air have been carefully thought out to help minimize the spread in circumstances such as these. While this can’t eliminate the spread of viruses, it certainly helps to slow it down by ensuring that no airspace is shared between designated groups of dogs…no belongings are shared…no water is shared, etc. Dogs who we choose to separate from others are done so in every sense of the word.
Thank you for your patience and anticipated cooperation as we continue to work hard to do what’s best for your pooches!
You can visit the following links for more general information on Canine Influenza:
Canine influenza: Pet Owners' Guide
Cornell University Press Release
Thanks for your patience, understanding, and your help in keeping the doggies in our community safe!
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