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Recently, we’ve been getting questions from some of our pet owners about a new dog virus called canine influenza. They were concerned about stories they had seen or read in the news about dog flu outbreaks. In answering their questions, we realized that all of our dog owners may have similar questions and concerns. So we’re writing to tell you about canine influenza, what puts dogs at risk, and what can be done to protect them.

Canine influenza is a respiratory disease that causes coughing, nasal discharge, and loss of energy and appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs, but the coughing caused by canine influenza can last for several weeks. With proper care, most dogs generally recover. However, canine influenza can lead to more severe or even life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia, and has been fatal in up to 8% of cases. 

Because canine influenza is caused by a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. And since it’s highly contagious, visiting places where dogs congregate, such as boarding facilities, doggie daycares, dog parks, or groomers, puts dogs at higher risk for catching this new virus. Making things more difficult is the fact that dogs can spread the virus before the coughing and other signs of sickness appear. 

The best way to protect your dog from canine influenza is through vaccination. Fortunately, a Bivalent H3N8 and H3N2 vaccine is available that aids in the control of disease caused by Canine Influenza. 

We recommend vaccinating dogs against canine influenza and have vaccine available. Please call us to discuss any questions you might have or to set up an appointment. To give your dog the most complete protection, the initial vaccination requires two doses of vaccine given 2 to 4 weeks apart, followed by a single booster dose given annually.

If you’d like to read more about canine influenza click here.