In the Fall of 2011 the news media declared an “outbreak” of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in New York. The virus was first reported in Florida in 2003, but quickly spread to 30 states by 2009, and was diagnosed in a total of 38 states by 2011. What makes Canine Influenza Virus so important? Since the virus is relatively new, most dogs have not developed a natural immunity from previous exposure. Also, CIV is extremely contagious, and the dogs shedding the virus cannot be identified because clinical signs appear after the shedding.
Canine Influenza Virus spreads in 3 ways. It spreads through direct contact….licking, nuzzling, etc. It spreads through the air when infected dogs cough or sneeze. And it spreads by contaminated surfaces, such as shared toys, water and food bowls, or even when a person picks up the virus on an infected dog then pets another dog.
Symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus can be mild or severe. 80% of dogs have a milder form with cough, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 20% of dogs develop more severe signs of pneumonia and high fever.
Your dog is at risk for Canine Influenza Virus if it:
- Boards at a kennel or goes to doggie daycare
- Attends group training or doggie kindergarten
- Visits a groomer or dog parks
- Travels with you across state lines
If your pet falls into any of the above categories, it needs the Canine Influenza Vaccine. The vaccine will significantly reduce the severity of illness and the length of time that the dog is sick. In general, if your dog needs the Bordetella vaccine, it likely needs the CIV vaccine as well. The vaccine is given as 2 doses 2-4 weeks apart for initial vaccination, and then your dog will be revaccinated annually.
If you have determined that your dog needs the influenza vaccine, or if you have questions about the risk level of your dog, please call Homefront Veterinary House Calls at (917)396-4041 or e-mail us at email@example.com. We will be happy to answer your questions or set up a convenient appointment for your dog to start the initial vaccination process.
For additional information on Canine Influenza Virus, please see the following resources: