Is Your Dog Vaccinated for Canine Influenza?

shutterstock_96101132If you’ve ever called Morris Animal Inn, you’ve most likely heard, “your dog needs the Canine Influenza Vaccination!”  “Canine Influenza, what is that? My vet didn’t say my dog needed that vaccine!”

It’s true, most vets don’t require the vaccine among their patients, but here’s why we do. Your pet’s health and happiness is always our main concern.

The Canine Influenza is highly contagious and can be transmitted by infected dogs prior to their showing any symptoms. Typically, it is airborne, passed by dog to dog contact, or via people’s hands or clothing. Signs closely resemble a common respiratory syndrome known as Canine Cough, and may include:

  • Nasal discharge
  •  High fever
  •  A soft gagging cough of 10-14 days.

80 to 90 percent of those exposed will contract the virus, even if they don’t show symptoms. Approximately 20 percent of the dogs may exhibit additional symptoms such as:

  •  Loss of appetite
  •  Lethargy
  •  And potentially Pneumonia

The dogs most at risk are dogs exposed to places where there are many animals like parks, dog parks, pet stores, dog shows, or kennels. The virus is similar to flu in people where it is the very young and the old that are most severely affected.

The biggest concern is that Canine Influenza is a new virus, and no dogs have immunities against it; the virus is only a decade old in dogs, and mothers don’t pass down antibodies to their pups.

The virus was first identified in racing greyhounds and appears to have been the cause of significant respiratory disease on canine tracks throughout the United States for the last several years. Scientists compared the virus’s DNA with other influenza viruses and the closest match was the H3N8 equine influenza virus, meaning the virus likely jumped from horses to canines at the racetracks.

In 2005, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified Canine Influenza as a “newly emerging pathogen in the dog population.”

The best way to treat the flu is to prevent severe symptoms with the specialized vaccination. We strive for nothing but the best for you and your pup; this is why we require the Canine Influenza vaccine. Your pet’s health and happiness is our number one priority, and we will continue to be a leader in the pet care industry to give your pets the best possible care during their time at Morris Animal Inn. Your dog will thank you when he can continue to play while his friends in the neighborhood may be at home sick in bed!

Source: New Jersey Department of Health, The Times Tribune