Click here for an article on the 2015 H3N2 canine flu outbreak.
Click here for another up to date article on canine flu!
K-9 Influenza Virus Information & Recommendations
Introduction & BVH's vaccine policy
Who should get the canine flu vaccine?
How is the Vaccine Administered?
Is the vaccine safe?
Does the vaccine work?
Is the flu the same as kennel cough?
- Introduction & Vaccine Policy
Vaccines can be separated into 2 groups, core vaccines which are recommended to all individuals and non core vaccines which may benefit certain individuals at risk for acquiring a disease. Rabies and Distemper combination vaccines are examples of core vaccines. Bordatella, Leptospirosis, & Feline Leukemia are examples of vaccines administered to at risk individuals in our area. Giardia, FIP, FIV, & Corona virus are examples of non core vaccines we have carefully considered and elected not to administer to our patients. Boulder Vet's policy is to assess and tailor the vaccination needs of each patient on an individual basis and to keep overall vaccination to a minimum.
Canine influenza virus (H3N8) was first recognized at BVH during an outbreak in the winter of 2005-2006. Veterinarians were overwhelmed at that time with large numbers of susceptible dogs becoming infected with the flu virus. Many dogs became ill and some quite ill but few dogs died from the infection with proper treatment. There is now a new strain of canine flu, H3N2 (see top of page to click for more information). This has not been seen in our area yet. Two new vaccines with this H3N2 strain were conditionally licensed by APHIS at the end of November 2015. This means they are still being tested for efficacy. We would like to see testing finished and the vaccines in more general use for longer before we feel comfortable with their efficacy and safety.
Though we have not seen a significant outbreak of recognized flu virus since 2005-2006 it is believed that the virus has remained active in Colorado in shelter environments as well as greyhound racing facilities. It is still believed that most dogs have not been exposed to the flu virus and would be quite susceptible to infection if an outbreak did occur.back to index
- Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
The Canine Influenza Vaccine (H3N8) produced by Schering Plough Animal Health is considered a non-core vaccine meaning it is not recommended for all individuals. The primary risk factor for dogs acquiring the flu virus is being housed in an enclosed environment with lots of other dogs. Therefore animals who are housed in large facilities such as shelters are at greatest risk. Boarding and grooming facilities, dog shows, training classes, and doggie daycares are also a risk factor. The same risk factors exist for the H3N2 flu virus. Being the vaccines for the H3N2 virus have not been fully tested for efficacy, we are waiting for more information before we consider administering one of these vaccines.
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- How is the Vaccine Administered?
The H3N8 Canine Influenza shot is a subcutaneous injection initial series of 2 shots separated by 2-4 weeks followed by annual boosters. Call our office for the current cost of the vaccine series.
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- Is the vaccine safe?
Schering Plough received full approval for their H3N8 Influenza vaccine in 2010. back to index As stated above, two vaccines have been released under conditional licensing for the new H3N2 flu virus, as of the end of November 2015. We feel these vaccines need more testing and time on the market to fully assess efficacy and safety.
- Does the vaccine work?
Vaccination with the H3N8 product will not prevent your dog from being infected with canine H3N8 Influenza virus but much like the Bordatella vaccine, it will decrease the severity of clinical signs and decrease the period where your dog is shedding infectious particles that may get others sick. As we said above, the new H3N2 vaccines are still being tested, even though released for veterinary use. back to index
- Is the flu the same as kennel cough?
The canine Influenza H3N8 virus is distinct from the viruses and bacteria that cause upper respiratory disease known as kennel cough, though very similar risk factors exist between the two. Mild cases of influenza may even be misdiagnosed as kennel cough as symptoms tend to be mild and disease is self limiting with natural recovery within 10-20 days after infection.back to index