K9 FLU VACCINE BIVALENT ANNUAL
CANINE INFLUENZA HAS RE-APPEARED, AND IS EPIDEMIC
DIAGNOSED IN 10+ STATES, INCLUDING TEXAS, AND AT LEAST 5 DOGS HAVE DIED
The "original" Canine Influenza: H3N8 in U.S. since 2004
The "new" Canine Influenza: H3N2 in U.S. since 2015--current strain causing the epidemic
- HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS:
- spread by contact with respiratory droplets from coughing/sneezing, and other body fluids;
- unsuspecting pet owners can bring it home on their hands/clothing/shoes and infect their own dogs indirectly!!
- 3-7 days incubation
- starts with sneezing, reverse sneezing, "tickling" cough
- progresses rapidly in less than 24 hours to fever (102 to 105), lethargy, severe cough
- those with a more severe version develop a very high fever (105+) and hemorrhagic pneumonia (bleeding lungs)--affected dogs require intensive care and many DIE
- some lucky dogs have subclinical infections--no symptoms at all, but shed the virus in all body fluids for up to 30 days, thereby exposing many unsuspecting dogs and owners
- WHICH DOGS GET THE MILD FORM AND WHICH DOGS GET SEVERELY ILL?
- snub-nosed breeds, puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with chronic health problems are at highest risk of the hemorrhagic pneumonia form of Canine Flu.
- when a dog has CONCURRENT exposure to multiple respiratory diseases (distemper virus, parainfluenza virus, bordetella, and/or hepatitis virus) at the same time AND/OR a dog has been under stress (boarding, grooming, attending dog shows, etc.), that dog is at HIGH risk of the severe form of Canine Flu
- supportive care (antibiotics, fever-reducing medications, fluids) for 2-3 weeks
- about 10% of dogs with Canine Influenza die as a result of the infection
- there is a vaccine available for each strain of Canine Influenza, no one knows how much cross-protection occurs
- canine flu does NOT infect people
Which dogs should be vaccinated?
- dogs at highest risk are those with contact with lots of other dogs: boarding kennels, grooming salons, doggie day care, animal shelters, dog competitions/events, dog parks, etc.
- snub-nosed breeds and dogs with pre-existing health problems are at highly at risk for developing the severe form of Canine Flu if they are exposed
What can be done to prevent canine influenza cases?
- infected dogs should be isolated immediately, with a separate air supply
- canine flu virus is easily killed by common disinfectants; pay particular attention to door knobs and other items people touch commonly
- wash hands and arms thoroughly after handling an unfamiliar dog, and disinfect shoes after being in a possibly contaminated area
- the current Canine Influenza virus vaccines reliably prevents Canine Flu:
- start with 2 vaccines, spaced 2-4 weeks apart, then booster annually
- for Windmill pets who have received the original flu vaccine, we can booster with just the new strain