Due to the rapid spread of a newer strain of the highly contagious canine influenza virus throughout the United States, we recommend that any dog that comes in contact with other dogs be vaccinated against this virus. There are two strains of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV): H3N2, which is the newer strain and H3N8.
CIV has continued to spread around the United States in recent years and this should be a concern to all dog owners. Dog owners are advised to protect their dogs against both CIV strains through vaccination. Dogs that go to dog shows, boarding and day care facilities, groomers, dog parks, etc. should all be vaccinated.
Symptoms – Symptoms of canine influenza often mimic other common upper respiratory infections. The most common symptom is a cough that persists for 10-21 days despite treatment. Dogs may have a soft, moist cough or a dry hacking cough similar to “kennel cough.” Discharge from the eyes or nose, sneezing, lethargy, or decrease in appetite may also be seen. Many dogs develop a secondary bacterial infection causing high fever and nasal discharge, or even pneumonia.
Protection through Vaccination – In November 2016, the first bivalent vaccine that offers protection against both H3N2 and H3N8 became available. Initial vaccination involves a series of two vaccines given two to four weeks apart, and then annually thereafter. The vaccine provides protection against both strains of CIV currently recognized in the US (H3N8 and H3N2). Just as in human medicine, the vaccine may not completely prevent infection, but it will significantly decrease clinical signs, severity of disease, and spread of CIV infection.
Speak to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific vaccination needs based on their individual exposure to other dogs. VCA Neshaminy Animal is located at 4197 E. Bristol Road in Trevose. Call 215-355-1116 to schedule an appointment.
PHOTO CAP: Dutch says, “Dear Flu, nobody likes you!”