Canine Influenza Vaccine
Information provided by
Dr. Reichman of Flat Creek Animal Clinic in Georgia
Dr. Browning of Nansmund Veterinary Hospital in Virginia.
Canine Influenza was first isolated in 2004 in Greyhounds, however, it probably existed before 2000. The virus in called H3N8 and originally jumped from horses to canines. Many states, over half have reported cases, however, most of the outbreaks so far have not been nationwide and have been found in individual kennels. Like with most respiratory infections, contact with secretions is the mode of spreading. This usually occurs through direct or indirect contact, close contact, clothing, sniffing of noses. The infection can be spread quickly throughout highly populated canine facilities, (boarding facilities, pounds, groomers). This virus presents similar to most other respiratory infections, i.e. "Kennel Cough". The rate of infection is high, but 20-50% will show no signs or symptoms, the other 50-80% will show mild and self limiting symptoms, and a small percentage less than 5% will develop more serious infections like pneumonia.
The vaccine has "conditional licensing" at this time. The vaccine does not prevent against the virus, only tries to lessen the severity of the symptoms and reduce viral shedding (spreading of the virus). Diagnosing can be complicated and a false negative can occur. The vaccine comes in 2 doses and an annual booster is needed. It has been reported that some boarding and grooming facilities are requiring the vaccine prior to allowing a dog to board or stay at the groomers. Dog owners should ask their vet about the canine flu in their specific area.
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