Canine influenza, commonly called the dog flu, is an upper respiratory infection that can spread very quickly amongst dogs. It is a relatively new ailment within the canine community and is caused by strains of the influenza virus A, including the equine virus (subtype H3N8).
The first known recorded outbreak within the canine community occurred in 2004, at a Florida horse racing track where Greyhounds raced. It was not previously known that the equine virus could spread to dogs. As a result, since the disease is relatively new, dogs have no natural immunities to the virus and are extremely susceptible to it if they come in contact with anything or anyone that has been near the virus.
A dog that contracts the Canine Influenza virus (CIV) may have one or more of the following symptoms:
-Dry, hacking cough
-Greenish discharge from the nose
-Loss of appetite and energy
Just as your dog received the Bordatella vaccination to prevent canine cough (which is like the common cold), you should consider the canine influenza vaccination for your dog in order to be protected from the virus. Though the vaccination is not 100% effective, it does significantly reduce your dog’s chances of getting sick. The vaccine must be given in two separate doses with a two-week break between the first and second dose. Afterwards, the vaccination must be administered annually. If your dog shows signs of CIV, take your dog to the vet but keep him or her separate from other dogs. If you will be near other dogs, make sure to wash your clothes and hands before interacting with other canines and their owners. Humans cannot become infected from the canine virus but they can transmit it to other dogs.
How Serious is the Dog Flu?
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the number of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small.” Some dogs have mild symptoms while more severe cases can result in pneumonia. Puppies, older dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems are most at risk.
If you have any questions about CIV and the vaccination, talk to your veterinarian. To make it easy for your dog to receive the vaccination, Morris K9 Campus is providing a Canine Influenza Clinic on Monday, 1/23/12, from 5–8PM and on Monday, 2/6/12, also from 5-8PM. It is $25 per vaccination.
Please call us at 973-252-5100 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP to attend the clinic.