Pet Health

Valley Stream vet raises flu, service dog awareness

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Central Veterinary Associates of Valley Stream hosted an all-day fundraising clinic on June 30 as part of a nationwide effort to vaccinate dogs against the canine influenza virus, H3N8, and support the National Education for Assistance Dog Services to provide dogs for the deaf and disabled. The event generated about $1,500.

Part of the initiative of the fundraiser was a result of “Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Meets NEADS,” a partnership. Intervet is helping NEADS through financial contributions, animal health care product donations and a campaign which was launched earlier this year to raise awareness about NEADS and how service dogs make a difference in the lives of many people.

This is amongst one of the many fundraisers the animal hospital has participated in. Nadine Darsanlal, a NEADS client and representative, set up an informative station in the waiting room of the Valley Stream animal hospital for anyone who was interested in knowing what the organization is about. She brought her 2-year-old dog, Harvey, a certified assistance dog that was trained by NEADS.

He entertained the people in the waiting room with his tricks such as sitting when being told, taking steps back, waving and giving Darsanlal an Eskimo kiss. She said it was a treat for him to come in and be around many people since it was his birthday.

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health sales representative Leila Wells stood in the waiting room as well, to share her expertise on the first vaccine against canine influenza, Nobivac.

There was a suggested $40 donation which included two needed vaccination doses of Nobivac. The first dose would be given the day of the clinic and the second would be conducted two to four weeks after the clinic.

Intervet donated the vaccine to assist the fundraiser. The proceeds from the day would go to NEADS.

NEADS is a nonprofit organization that began in 1976 which trains and provides dogs to people who have disabilities and need extra assistance with daily activities. Canine assistants have been partnered with children and adults to help them lead normal lives.

Canines for Combat Veterans is an additional program NEADS manages, to help members of the armed forces who have been injured. It was created in 2006 in partnership with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The organization receives no state or federal funding but solely relies on the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, small businesses, service organizations and workplace campaigns to sponsor the training.

Raymond Romano from the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” a close friend of Darsanlal, supports NEADS; he has donated money in the past through her.

Darsanlal explained that the money raised goes toward the cost of training, boarding, food, and all other needs of the dog. Each NEADS dog requires about $9,500.

As an assistance dog, Harvey helps Darsanlal around the house by closing doors and even assisting her in doing laundry.

Preventing dog flu

With an 8 percent mortality rate, H3N8 has recently had 500 confirmed cases exhibited from diagnostic testing in the New York metropolitan area, according to Dr. John Charos from Central Veterinary Hospital.

According to Wells, although the illness has been around for approximately five years, the vaccine was formulated a year ago. Only recently, on June 9, the United States Department of Agriculture granted the vaccine a full license. “The American Animal Hospital Association felt that there was a need for this vaccination,” said Wells.

Canine influenza is extraordinarily contagious among other dogs and is similar to when humans get the flu. Symptoms include fever, coughing, runny noses, lethargy and loss of appetite. People can unintentionally spread H3N8 to healthy dogs if they approach an infected dog, however they cannot contract it themselves.

Wells said that canine influenza is a light virus that can travel across a room where a dog can contract it from being 20 feet away. Social dogs from 6 weeks of age or older, that are generally in contact with other dogs, are recommended to be given the vaccine.

“The vaccine is something that we feel very strongly about in terms of clients protecting their pets and NEADS is a worthwhile organization that so many benefit from, including disabled veterans,” said Mary Smith, the office manager of the hospital.

Charos said that what is prevalent with this virus case is that it has been a stable influenza where, if treated, the symptoms can be reduced before it reaches secondary complications.

“I thought it was excellent for our veterinarian to put together this program,” said Pat Costello, a client and donator for each of her dogs, Georgia and Molly. Costello said she felt “community minded” in donating.

In terms of why Central Veterinary Associates participated in this event, Charos asserted that NEADS looked like a worthy organization that caught their eye. “It’s a public awareness to protect the pets,” he said. “It’s a great cause.”