MADISON, N.J., Nov. 11, 2016 – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) today announced best practice recommendations for pet care and safety designed to help pet professionals prevent the spread of infectious disease within their businesses, including kennels, veterinary facilities, doggie daycares, dog walkers, groomers and training facilities. These recommendations will be presented at the upcoming Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo on November 14 by Courtney Campbell, D.V.M, Surgical Department Head – CARE Emergency and Specialty Animal Hospital and co-host of National Geographic’s “Pet Talk.” These recommendations also will be published in the February 2017 issue of AAHA Trends.
The “Best Practices for Pet Care and Safety” recommendations are the result of a veterinary and pet business expert roundtable, which was initiated in response to the ever-evolving disease trends impacting the industry, including the canine influenza H3N2 outbreak. The guidance document emphasizes the importance of disease prevention, vaccination requirements, sanitation and isolation procedures, and having an issues management and communication plan in place in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, as well as the importance of managing legal issues to protect the reputation and viability of a pet business.
“For pet professionals, infectious disease – whether an outbreak situation or not – puts animals and their business at risk, which is why prevention is key to keeping pets safe and healthy, and customers happy and confident,” said Courtney Campbell, D.V.M. “It’s imperative that pet professionals understand the risks and utilize all available resources to help protect the pet populations they serve. I’m honored to work with Merck Animal Health on this educational initiative.”
According to well-established industry standards, all dogs should receive core vaccinations against distemper, infectious hepatitis and parvovirus infections. Based on the newly developed best practice recommendations, dogs which are boarded, groomed, group trained or group walked also should also be vaccinated against respiratory diseases caused by Bordetella, bronchiseptica, adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza virus and both types of canine influenza virus as well.
Canine influenza virus H3N8 first appeared in the United States in 2003 and since then has been diagnosed in 42 states, most recently in Missouri and Montana. In 2015, a new strain of canine influenza emerged called H3N2, which has already spread to at least 30 states. The H3N8 and H3N2 viruses have different origins and are not closely related; therefore it is important dogs are vaccinated against both strains to ensure they are protected. It has been reported that H3N2 infected dogs produce 10 times more virus than dogs infected with the first strain (H3N8), potentially making it more contagious. H3N2 may be shed for up to 24 days, which is longer than what is seen with H3N8.1 However, both viruses can spread quickly among social dogs. The viruses can be transmitted directly from dog to dog through droplets from sneezing and coughing or indirectly through fomites.
“We, at Merck Animal Health, are proud to sponsor these best practice recommendations to raise awareness of infectious diseases, help pet businesses prevent future outbreaks and keep the animals in their care healthy,” said Madeleine Stahl, D.V.M., Associate Director, Scientific Marketing Affairs, Merck Animal Health. “Infectious diseases, like canine influenza, are constantly evolving and spreading among social dogs so it’s critically important that we help the industry keep pace with the most up-to-date information available.”
In addition to the Best Practices for Pet Care and Safety presentation, Merck Animal Health will also have a booth at the Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo trade show, where more information about the recommendations will be available. For more information about the Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo visit http://www.petboardingexpo.com/. For more information about canine influenza, visit www.doginfluenza.com. Owners who suspect their dog may have canine influenza or are concerned about their risk should speak with their veterinarian.
About Merck Animal Health
For 125 years, Merck has been a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals™, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.merck-animal-health.com or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at @MerckAH.
- 1. Updates in Canine Influenza Virus: Management, treatment and prevention of disease. VETgirl Webinar, July 27, 2015. Archived at www.vetgirlontherun.com.