Canine Influenza: When all he wants is to play, don’t let the flu get in his way.
What is canine influenza?
Canine influenza is a relatively new disease caused by a ‘flu’ virus. It causes respiratory infection and only affects dogs. It spreads quickly and may cause serious illness such as pneumonia.
Is it contagious?
Very. And you don’t know which dogs are shedding the virus. Just like human flu, the clinical signs appear after the shedding. First reported in 2003, canine flu quickly reached 30 states by 2009. Then with increased awareness, cases were identified in an additional 10 states. Currently, 40 states have reported cases of canine influenza. The virus was first reported in Florida in March 2003.
How does it spread?
In three ways:
*Through direct contact between dogs (licking, nuzzling)
*Through the air (coughing, sneezing)
*Via contaminated surfaces (such as a shared toy or when a person picks up the virus on their hands, then pets a dog)
What are the signs of canine influenza?
About 80% of dogs that show signs of influenza will have mild disease. Signs include:
*lack of energy
*loss of appetite
In about 20% of the cases, more severe signs will occur, such as:
How is it diagnosed?
It’s hard to diagnose canine influenza. It can be confused with Bordetella (canine cough) because the signs are very similar. Your veterinarian will treat the clinical signs most likely with antibiotics but to confirm flu, he or she would need to collect blood or nasal swab samples.
Is my dog at risk for infection?
Most dogs regardless of breed or age at risk for canine influenza. However, certain venues and activities can raise your dog’s risk of canine influenza infection even higher. Review this list of questions to see if any of these places or activities apply to your pet.
Does your dog:
*Come from a shelter, rescue center, breeding kennel or pet store?
*Board at a kennel or go to doggie daycare?
*Attend group training or “dog kindergarten”?
*Visit a groomer or dog parks?
*Enter dog events?
*Travel with you across state lines?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, tell your veterinarian and ask what can be done to protect your dog from canine influenza.
How can I protect my dog from canine influenza?
Protection in the form of an effective vaccine is available through your veterinarian. Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8 from Merck Animal Health has been clinically proven to significantly reduce the severity of influenza and the length of time that a dog is sick.
The initial vaccination requires 2 doses given 2-4 weeks apart, followed by annual revaccination. If your dog is presently being vaccinated for canine cough (Bordetella), it is likely candidate for Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8.
Is the vaccine safe?
In clinical studies, Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8 was proven safe and well-tolerated in over 700 dogs. There were over 30 breeds ranging in age from 6 weeks to 10 years old. Since then, the vaccine has been used safely in more than 7 million dogs.
Your veterinarian can advise you whether this new influenza vaccine should be added to your dog’s vaccination schedule.
To protect your pet, talk to your vet. Remember, your veterinarian is the best source of information regarding the health of your pet. Don’t be shy about asking questions or scheduling time just to talk. Be sure to call your veterinarian if you have any questions about canine influenza, vaccination or if you notice your dog coughing or showing other signs of a respiratory infection.
Learn more at http://www.doginfluenza.com
*Disclaimer: this information was taken directly from Merck Animal Health pamphlet. Please call the above number or email for more information.