The Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), also known as the Canine Flu, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs. The disease is unpredictable in its spread geographically. Recent disaster relief in the United States has helped homeless animals but unfortunately increased the risk of disease spreading. Many dogs have no natural immunity against the influenza virus, and it is recommended for your dog to be vaccinated. Per Oregon’s State Veterinarian, dogs should be protected now before the disease becomes an epidemic. Because prevention is better than treating the disease, we are now carrying the Canine Influenza vaccine.
Clinical signs may be severe, and the disease is potentially fatal. All pathogens involved in Canine Infectious Respiratory Diseases (CIRD) complex can cause a similar clinical presentation. Coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge and fever.
The disease is transmitted through direct contact, humans handling an infected dog or shared items like food and water bowls. According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA), “Virtually all dogs exposed to CIV become infected, with approximately 80% developing clinical signs of disease. The approximately 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs of disease can still shed the virus and spread the infection.” Dogs can be contagious with influenza for up to 24 days without being symptomatic.
The vaccination is recommended for all dogs that have have lifestyle risk factors, including dogs that have close contact with other dogs in closed environments, such as kennels, doggie daycares, grooming facilities, dog parks, and other multi-dog settings.
It is important to understand that while the vaccine has been shown to mitigate the severity of clinical signs, the vaccine does not prevent infection. Close to 100% of dogs are naive to this new virus and have no natural immunity to it. Virtually all exposed dogs will be infected. All but four states in the US (see map) have had reported cases of Influenza.
The Nobivac Canine Influenza vaccine is confirmed safe after real-world use in more than a million dogs. It has been proven to reduce the severity and spread of disease. It protects against the formation and severity of lung lesions, and significantly reduces the days and degree of viral shedding.
Cascade Summit Animal Hospital is now carrying the bi-valent Canine Influenza vaccination, which vaccinates against both strains (H3N2 and H3N8). Vaccine protocol requires a minimum of 2 doses for primary immunization. The initial dose may be given at 7 weeks of age or older. A second dose is given 2 to 4 weeks later. Annual revaccination with 1 dose is recommended.
Ask about the Canine Flu vaccine at your dog’s next appointment!