Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dog Flu Season?

I don't think there really is a "season" to the dog flu. Canine influenza, H3N8, is a highly contagious viral disease, like our own versions of human influenza. However, it seems to pop up sporadically in "outbreaks" throughout the year. It is highly contagious and spread by respiratory secretions, including from dogs who are apparently healthy.

There is a very good vaccine for this disease that we in the veterinary field term a "lifestyle" vaccine. If your dog literally NEVER leaves your house, you probably don't need to worry about it. However, you can even get it at (dare I say it) your vet's office. Sure, if someone brings a sick patient in, they could be spreading viral particles throughout the air. Do NOT use that as an excuse to avoid regular veterinary visits. Trust me, we go out of our way to isolate these patients and keep them away from healthy animals. However, the point is, if your pet goes to a groomer, a daycare, a dog park and other such places, they are at risk.  

Since most dogs do NOT have natural immunity to this virus, they can be at risk of serious infection. Signs include lethargy, fever and nasal discharge. This can be a fatal disease, especially if leads to pneumonia, so it is not something to take lightly. 

Is there harm in vaccinating? Not in my opinion or experience. Any vaccine can cause a vaccine reaction. I have NOT seen this with this particular vaccine. I vaccinate my own dog, annually (as per the recommendation), against this disease.

Canine influenza is NOT transmissible to other species!

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