Canine Influenza: How We Are Helping

by Kimberly Wade

Two weekends ago, there was an article in RGJ which mentioned both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA of Northern Nevada. It specifically referred to our collaborations with other shelters and rescues across the state as we transport homeless pets to Washoe County to provide them with a lifesaving opportunity through our organizations—therefore saving more lives statewide. The concern was making sure the animals that are being brought in and adopted out are healthy.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the canine influenza, or dog flu, is highly contagious. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed, and infection can occur year round. Almost all dogs exposed will become infected and the majority of them develop flu-like symptoms. It is not contagious to people. Supportive care should be provided to keep the dog comfortable and medications may be necessary but most dogs recover within a few weeks.

In the last two months, within the Reno area, there have been 80 new cases of canine influenza reported. We don’t want to scare you, but ultimately there are pet-related businesses that are choosing to temporarily shut their doors or not accept new clients. So what are we doing about it, especially since, as it was pointed out, we are bringing in animals from other areas?

At both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA, best practices are in place for the safety of the dogs and our community. Both shelters have full-time veterinarians and clinic staff. There are strict protocols in place to ensure that any sign of illness is immediately reported, then dogs are quarantined and examined by a veterinarian. All dogs are vaccinated for canine influenza (as well as other illnesses) at the time they arrive at the shelter and receive the appropriate boosters.

Both shelters also offer the canine influenza vaccine (among others) at weekly vaccine clinics for the general public. Nevada Humane Society has a low-cost vaccine clinic every Saturday from 9am to 11am; the SPCA has a low-cost vaccine clinic the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA take any pet-related illness seriously. We work diligently to protect homeless pets and owned pets. When we take in pets from other shelters or rescues, we quarantine animals if we feel they may be contagious—and many times they are quarantined regardless if they are from specific regions where any illness is prevalent. We also do this with kittens and puppies—especially if they are too small to be vaccinated—in both the shelter and foster homes. If animals are surrendered, we have a thorough discussion with their owner to determine if the dog could have been exposed, and we work with them to try and keep the animal out of the shelter until a quarantined period has passed.

So what can you do? Learn the basics about the illness and how to protect your dog:

  • Canine Influenza is spread primarily through the air, so coughing and sneezing even 20 feet away can cause infection
  • It can spread by people moving between an infected dog and uninfected dog or contaminated objects (bedding, food bowls, etc.)
  • Signs of the illness range from mild to severe
  • Symptoms include coughing, possible nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite and fever
  • Secondary bacterial infections can also occur if not handled in a timely manner
  • Talk to your vet (establish a relationship with a full-service, private vet if you don’t already have one) and see if the vaccine is right for your dog
  • Wash your hands between dog-to-dog contact, and if you don’t have to, avoid petting other dogs
  • Avoid dog-friendly places, such as parks, daycares or other areas dogs may gather, as the virus can live outside of the host for up to 48 hours

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Hi, I’m Queenie! I know, my looks get your attention, and hopefully my purrsonality will too! A little sweet, a little shy, I’m the kind of gal who needs someone to be patient with me and let me warm up to them slowly. Change is a big adjustment for anyone, but I work hard at letting my affection show! Just know I’m charming, friendly and curious and meet me today!

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A Forever Valentine

by Kimberly Wade

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and with all of the promotional products being featured everywhere, it’s hard not to think about it! But as we know, flowers wilt, candy gets eaten and gifts can be tossed away after time. So what about considering a forever Valentine? Don’t laugh, you knew that’s where I was going with this—because when you adopt, that’s what you get.

Valentine’s Day aside, there’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Unconditional love. I know I talk about it all the time, but it’s true. I’ve been under the weather this week and a head cold is never fun, but I’ll tell you what, my cats are there for me. They know when I need a distraction from the discomfort, a cuddle to help me sleep and playful antics to make me smile. They don’t run for fear of catching my cooties but rather they stick around and do what they do best—offer unconditional love.

Over the holidays, when we lost our dogs, the cats grieved too. They roamed the house, crying out, looking for their doggie siblings. They went in to their bedroom, sniffing around and wondering why there wasn’t this lumbering old lab or our Italian Greyhound, who used to make them chase him every morning. I’ve seen species grieve for the same species, but it was interesting to see different species grieve for each other too—and heartbreaking. But despite their confusion, they knew we, as mom and dad, were in more pain, so they stepped up their game. Newton, our cat who is known for loving everyone you meet and truly the most affectionate cat in the world (no joke, but that’s another story), didn’t leave us alone. It’s as if he knew we needed him. Maisey, our goofy, playful, ride on my shoulders Siamese, spent more time cuddled with me than normal (and that’s a lot). Even Saia, our shy little one, came out of her comfort zone to be a part of the family.

Last year, during several stressful situations we endured, our animals were there for us. It’s funny—it’s as if they don’t want to add to that stress so they behave the best they can be. They know that it’s not the time for knocking half full glassware off the counter or making a mess with their toys (sometimes our living room looks like a giant playpen). They simply are there for us, bringing us comfort and unconditional love.

Even when they do something they shouldn’t, like sneaking food off our plate or accidently deleting an email off the laptop, they know they made a mistake but they still offer unconditional love.

I think animals are probably one of the most selfless beings on the planet. OK, maybe dogs and cats, because let’s be honest, the rabbit digging up your backyard doesn’t really care, but dogs and cats, they are here for their people. When you treat them right, give them the best life they deserve, rescue them, ADOPT them, they know. They just know. They know it’s meant to be and they know that you are their person. And the cool thing is that I’ve had more people tell me that the pet (or pets) they adopted from a shelter or rescue are the most appreciative and offer the most unconditional love.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches, love your pets too. Consider adding to the family by visiting Nevada Humane Society and adopting. Because unconditional love is real, and there won’t be a day that will go by that you don’t see that. And right now, Nevada Humane Society has some of the most adorable dogs and cats looking for love… a forever love, not just for Valentine’s Day, so I really hope you give a new relationship a chance. You won’t regret it.


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A Positive Future Ahead

by Kimberly Wade

2018 is going to be a big year for Nevada Humane Society, as lots of positive growth is on the horizon—something all of us as animal lovers are excited about. For me, as I’ve shared so much of my journey over the last couple of years that I’ve fulfilled this column, there are also big changes, and I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been in the marketing role from the beginning, initially hired as the Foster Coordinator but moving into marketing within a few months of my start date. The role quickly evolved to best fit my skillsets and for the needs of the animals, and over the last 8 years, I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished as well as how the organization has grown. I can honestly say it’s a job that has bettered me as a person, changed the lives of those around me and made me fall even harder for homeless pets—if that was possible!

Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to join a new team, with Humane Network (many of you remember Bonney Brown and Diane Blankenburg, who began this column), who was chosen by Maddie’s Fund to lead efforts in creating a no-kill Nevada. This goal is something that will allow all of the lives of healthy and treatable pets to be saved, to revolutionize the status and well-being of homeless pets, and to provide access to care for so many of those in need in rural areas. In essence, I will be helping an awesome group of individuals save more lives not just in Washoe County, but all across the state—and that, my friends, is huge.

Despite taking on such an amazing role, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll be continuing all of my marketing efforts for Nevada Humane Society, sharing lifesaving stories, promoting our fun-filled events, and of course, writing this column. I know from the volume of comments I receive that you all love hearing about our adventures at Nevada Humane Society (and yes, even my crazy personal pet stories) so now you get to hear more—because you’ll be helping me save lives statewide.

Though our initial efforts will be in Las Vegas, a big part of lifesaving is transporting animals to shelters who have added resources and a higher volume of adoptions—hence, Nevada Humane Society, and our fellow groups among the north. Over the last month, we’ve collaborated with the SPCA of Northern Nevada to bring in dozens of dogs and cats from other places who need help—and watching those animals find love and go home right here in Washoe County is heartwarming. We don’t know where you’re putting these animals, but keep doing it, because you’re bringing so much love and support to the table that we can’t imagine not having you!

And that’s the thing. I love writing this column, sharing my journey, the good and the bad. It’s not always easy to share heartbreak, but knowing that we are all here for the animals and that I can work to bring even more people and pets together is huge. So for your support, for Nevada Humane Society and lifesaving across the state, thank you.

You can continue to reach me at or by mail to NHS, at 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502, and I still hope that you share your stories and photos—because I’ll certainly be sharing with you.

By the way, little Meringue, who I shared a couple weeks ago? She was given the all clear by our veterinary team, and is now just packing on the pounds so that she is big enough to be spayed. I’ve found her the best family, with humans and another little dog named Bella, and they adore her already. Thank you for helping her find love!Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Yuki is 12 years old, stunningly beautiful and a mix of sweet and shy. Her person passed away a year ago, and though she was adopted, most recently she ended up at Animal Services, her person nowhere to be found. She’s quiet and reserved, so would do best with a cat person who understands she needs time—but she deserves love like anyone. Will you help her find a family today?


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