Friday, October 28, 2011

Is your dog sick as a human?

I guess it’s not enough that people everywhere are urged to get a flu vaccination every year, now we have to worry about our dogs as well.

I just received an urgent e-mail written in large text in various shades of RED, urging me to vaccinate my dog against canine influenza due to an outbreak in my county.

I’m not worried. First, because unfortunately my dog passed away almost a year ago, and secondly because, according my research:

Canine influenza is a disease of dogs; no evidence exists that people can catch it. Like human flu patients, dogs with canine influenza develop respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sometimes runny noses. And like humans, most dogs that contract the flu will be only mildly sick and recover on their own.

I’m not downplaying the problem of having a sick pet, and I realize respiratory problems in creatures who rely heavily on their noses to detect danger, food, friends etc, can be serious, but I sort of get the idea that, as with people, someone who makes money on selling and administering the vaccine wants to make sure everyone is too scared not to get it.

I had a dog for 12 years and never ONCE even heard of canine influenza. Now, all of a sudden, it’s a thing and pet owners need to be acutely aware of it. Yes, I discovered dog adoptions in the County have been suspended due to an outbreak, and obviously no one wants to take on an already sick pet and be on the hook for medical care that should have been provided and paid for by a shelter, but can we all say it slowly together – OVER RE ACTING?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against vaccines at all, and I don’t want to see any pet become ill any more than I want to be ill myself, but just as with myself, I’m less than enthusiastic about running to the doctor to get shot full of chemicals as a reaction to a panicked e-mail.

Let’s stop all this hyper-awareness and fear-mongering now while we still can. That’s something I’d be willing to be vaccinated against.

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