Canine Influenza & What You Need To Know

By now, you may have heard about the Canine Influenza (flu) outbreak occurring in Northern Florida and Georgia over the past several weeks. We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little about this disease as well as a few changes that we will be making at our hospital to help stop its spread.  The canine influenza virus was recently found in a dog here in Palm Beach County.  Apparently, a patient was infected during a recent dog event in Georgia, came home and then spread the infection to their housemate.  This patient was seen at one of our local emergency hospitals where the disease was confirmed via viral testing.  This means that any number of dogs in our community could now be exposed and possibly infected. Currently, we have 100 positive flu cases in the state of Florida; the most in any state so far.

There are two common strains of the canine flu, H3N8 and H3N2. The current strain of concern is H3N2 which is also contagious to cats. Canine flu is spread very similarly to human flu in that it can be transmitted on objects such as clothing, toys, and bedding for up to 24 hours. It also has airborne transmission up to 20 feet. Please know that this virus is easy to kill; normal washing of affected bedding and clothing, along with general cleaning with disinfectants will be effective. As with the human flu, you can expect pets that are affected to experience some or all of the following symptoms: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or lack of appetite.

If you suspect your dog may have been infected and showing symptoms of the canine flu, please do not bring them into the hospital without first calling and getting instruction from the hospital staff.  This includes our area emergency rooms or other veterinary hospitals.   Keeping your dog isolated from other dogs is the best way to stop the spread of this disease.  If your dog is seriously ill, they may need to be hospitalized for treatment and proper facilities and isolation protocols need to be enacted to try and minimize the risk to others in the hospital or emergency room.

We have been in contact with the University Of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, and we are following the recommendations that they have set forth for this current issue. We are recommending that all dogs that are at risk for contracting the flu be vaccinated These risk factors include pets that frequent dog parks, dog beaches, grooming salons, boarding kennels, daycare facilities, training facilities, or any other areas where a large number of dogs congregate with their owners. If your pet does not leave the yard or does not go anywhere outside of your home, then vaccination might not be for them; we are here to help guide you in this decision.

Please know that we are following this outbreak’s developments closely, as we wish to have the most up-to-date information in order to keep our patients happy and healthy. With that in mind, we have decided to institute a few changes within our hospital to better serve our community in helping to prevent this disease from spreading even more. As of August 1, 2017, we will be requiring the flu vaccine series to be started in all pets that are staying at our facility. These include boarding, grooming, non-anesthetic dentals, admissions to the hospital for surgery or any medical procedure that requires your dog to stay with us. We know this is a change to our policy and we will work very hard to make this transition smooth for both our facility and your families. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office directly.

We are currently vaccinating our patients with a bivalent killed vaccine that contains both strains of the canine flu (H3N2 & H3N8). The vaccine is a two-part inoculation, with the second booster occurring 3 weeks after the first. Immunity to the disease does not occur until 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccination. Even though the flu can spread between both dogs and cats, there is no current vaccination for cats.

We will continue to do our very best to keep families informed as developments happen. Thank you for both your trust and assistance as we play our role in curbing the spread of this illness.


posted in:  Dog & Cat Care

Canna-Pet for Pets

Harmony Animal Hospital has carried Canne-Pet since June 2016 and has had great success with this over the counter, safe product. Below is some information about Canna-Pet and its benefits. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call, email or text us.

Canna-Pet is…

  • An organic, whole-plant product, developed from the ground-up specifically for pets
  • Perfectly safe to use alongside any medications, supplements, or with any special diets
  • Cannabinoid nutrition that is Non-GMO, vegan, free of animal products, free of preservatives
  • Offering fast acting liquids and capsules suitable for any animal and treats for dogs
  • The first of its kind

What makes Canna-Pet Different?

  • Veterinarian recommended and covered by major pet insurers
  • Offers a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee
  • Unique abundance of phytochemicals, with over two dozen cannabinoids and terpenes beyond just CBD
  • Studied by major universities and major veterinary journals
  • Much higher bioavailability than other CBD products
    • 10-15X the absorption
    • 15X the effective CBD reaching the pets ECS


Canna-Pet’s cannabinoid (CBD)  nutrition is made with Industrial Hemp

Canna-Pet products are:

  • Non-psychoactive
  • Are not medical marijuana
  • Made with organic and non-gmo hemp
  • Legal without a prescription
  • Formulated in USA phytochemistry laboratories

Who can use Canna-Pet products?

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Horses
  • Other

What do customers use Canna-Pet for?

  • Anxiety due to noise phobia (example: fireworks), separation anxiety, etc.
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Digestive Issues
  • Seizures
  • Inflammation
  • Joint & Mobility Issues
  • Pain
  • Homeostasis
  • And more!
posted in:  Bahavior  |  Dog & Cat Care  |  Exotics

Owning a Rabbit

General Information


Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents. There are many breeds and colors of rabbits, such as the English Angora, Chinchilla, Dutch, Flemish Giant, Himalayan, Netherlands Dwarf, Rex, Polish, Satin, and Mini Lop. If properly handled and socialized, they make a curious, sociable, pleasant, docile, quiet and gentle pet. Rabbits rarely bite, but they can scratch with their sharp claws and powerful hind legs if improperly handled. They don’t have to be walked and because they like to urinate and defecate in the same spot, usually learn to use a litter box quite easily. Their average life span is 5-8 years old (small breeds can reach 10-14 years old) and they reach breeding age at 6 months of age. Males are called bucks, females are called does and offspring are known as kittens. Rabbits are known for their breeding abilities; pregnancy lasts about 30 days and the average size litter is 4-10 bunnies. Early spaying and neutering (5-6 months of age) is recommended to decrease both medical and behavioral problems.

“Males are called bucks, females are called does and offspring are known as kittens.”

Proper handling of rabbits is important. Rabbits have a lightweight skeleton compared to most other animals. Their powerful back legs allow them to kick with a surprisingly large amount of strength. If held improperly, a swift kick can easily cause a rabbit to dislocate or break its back, resulting in severe chronic disabilities or even euthanasia for the now paralyzed rabbit. When carrying your pet, always support its entire body and hind end. NEVER pick up your rabbit by its ears. Have your veterinarian show you the proper way to restrain and carry your rabbit.


Interesting rabbit facts

  • Rabbits have large ears, which give them an excellent sense of hearing. The ears also serve as a way for the rabbit to regulate its body temperature. The ears contain large veins, which are often used for drawing blood for diagnostic testing.
  • Rabbits have a digestive tract that is adapted for digesting the large amount of fiber that is required in their diets.
  • Rabbits are hindgut fermenters, meaning that they require microbes (special bacteria and flagellate organisms) to ferment the high-fiber foods they ingest before the nutrients can be absorbed in the lower intestines and used by the body.
  • Rabbit pass large amounts of dry round fecal pellets daily. They also pass a special feces called “cecotropes” at night or in the early hours of the morning. These cecotropes contain nutrients produced by bacterial fermentation (specifically certain proteins and Vitamins B & K), and the rabbit eats the cecotropes to absorb these nutrients.
  • Compared to other pets, the skeleton of a rabbit is very light in relation to the rest of its body. This means that their bones fracture (break) more easily; carrying a rabbit improperly or dropping it can predispose it to bone fractures.
  • Rabbits have two pairs of upper incisor teeth (the second pair is hidden behind the first), which is why they are not rodents; they are correctly known as lagomorphs.
  • Like rodents, rabbit’s teeth grow throughout the pet’s life and may need periodic trimming by your veterinarian if problems arise. Providing your rabbit with blocks of wood to chew often prevents overgrown incisors, a common condition in pet rabbits.
  • Rabbits rarely make noise, but occasionally will make a growl or warning grunt. Rarely, if frightened or hurt and rabbit will make high pitched scream. Rabbits will thump their back feet as a warning signal.


Selecting your pet rabbit

Rabbits are often purchased at pet stores or through breeders. Ideally, select a young bunny. It should be curious and inquisitive. The rabbit should not be thin or emaciated. Check for the presence of wetness around the anus, which might indicate diarrhea. Also, check for the presence of parasites such as fleas and ear mites (ear mites cause the production of a crusty, thick, flaky accumulation in the ears, and often cause tenderness of the ears). The eyes and nose should be clear and free of any discharge that might indicate a respiratory infection. If possible, examine the rabbit’s mouth for broken or overgrown incisors (front teeth), discolored gums (they should be light pink), and any obvious sores. Inquire as to whether the rabbit has been spayed or neutered; most have not been at the time of purchase. Finally, inquire as to any guarantee of health the seller is offering.


The First Veterinary Visit

Your rabbit should be examined by a veterinarian within 48 hours of purchase (this examination is often required by the seller or any guarantee becomes void). Make sure the veterinarian has experience in treating rabbits. The veterinarian will examine the rabbit, record its weight, and discuss housing, proper diet, and appropriate toys for the rabbit. At this time, a fecal sample should also be examined for parasites. Rabbits require at least annual physical examinations and fecal tests to check for parasites.



rabbits-owning-2Rabbits do not require vaccinations unless housed outdoors where consideration for rabies vaccination should be discussed with your veterinarian.

As a final note, rabbits generally make good family pets, but should never be left unsupervised with small children.

Rick Axelson, DVM
© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.
posted in:  Uncategorized