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Canine Influenza Update
Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) H3N2 has been confirmed in our area!
Nearby animal hospitals have had periodic outbreaks of canine influenza virus, confirmed at the lab to be the H3N2 strain. This is the strain which affected over a thousand dogs in the Chicago area in 2015, including at least five deaths.
There are currently two strains of CIV circulating. H3N8 has been around for over a decade, and there is a very good vaccine which is specific for the H3N8 strain. In spring of 2015, a brand new strain of CIV, H3N2, began appearing, starting in the Chicago area. Cases popped up in scattered sites throughout the city and suburbs, including cases in our immediate area. Meanwhile the old strain, H3N8, has continued to circulate at its previous rate.
The bad news is that the old vaccine does not protect against the new strain. The good news is that vaccine specific for H3N2 has been developed, and there is now a bivalent "combo" version that protects against both!
Who needs to get vaccinated?
Dogs with greater than average exposure to other dogs should be vaccinated for CIV. This includes dogs who go to the groomer and share airspace with other dogs there, dogs who board or go to doggie day care or dog parks, and any dogs who sniff noses with other dogs regularly. Dogs who travel, or who hang out with dogs who travel, are also at increased risk for CIV, even if it's just within Chicagoland.
My dog was already vaccinated for the flu last year!
Until a few years ago, we only had the vaccine for one strain available. We can now vaccinate for either strain, or for both in one "bivalent" combo shot. Since both strains are now in our area, any dog who needed the first strain really should get vaccinated for both. Like the H3N8 vaccine, the H3N2 vaccine will need to be given twice, two to four weeks apart, the first year it is given. After that boosters can be given annually.
Is there a combined vaccine with both strains in one shot, like people get?
Now, there is a vaccine that has both strains in one shot. Contact us for more information: 847-520-4110
What can I do to keep my dog healthy?
If your dog has regular contact with other dogs, make sure to get them vaccinated for both strands of influenza, as well as for Bordetella. We usually encourage dogs to have a healthy social life, and we can help you weigh the risks and benefits to decide what's safest for your pet. If you're not sure whether your dog is at risk, please call and our veterinarians will be happy to discuss it with you!
What are the signs of Canine Influenza Virus?
Like in humans, true influenza is primarily a respiratory disease. Dogs typically start out with a cough and mild to moderate fever. This can progress to pneumonia more easily that some other respiratory diseases. Antibiotics do not work against flu viruses, but if there is a secondary bacterial pneumonia it's important your dog gets on an antibiotic promptly.
Can people catch CIV?
So far, there has not even been any suspicion of people catching Canine Influenza Virus. There were some reports of cats catching it in Asia, but if this happens with the current strain it must be extremely rare because it has not been confirmed even once.
Please call us if you have any questions!