Canine influenza is a newly emerging infectious disease caused by a “flu” virus. Canine influenza is highly contagious and virtually every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. This is because the virus is relatively new and dogs have no natural immunity for it. The most common sign of canine influenza is a persistent cough. Some dogs have a soft, most “productive” cough while others have a dry hacking cough similar to that seen in dogs with kennel cough (common cold). In about 20% of canine influenza cases more severe signs will occur, such as a high fever, pneumonia and even death.
The United States Department of Agriculture has granted a full license to Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8. This is the first vaccine against canine influenza.
The full license means that the USDA confirms the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Nobivac Canine Flu “has been shown to significantly decrease the signs, severity and spread of CIV infection. The vaccine has also been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of lung lesions. Experience data shows that the vaccine is well-tolerated.
Certain activities can raise your dog’s risk of canine influenza. Any places where dogs congregate or socialize put your dog at higher risk. These places may include boarding facilities, dog parks, doggie day care, breeding kennels, dog shows, training or agility groups, and grooming facilities.
Although it originated in Florida, canine influenza has been spreading across the country and cases have been confirmed at a local shelter. Because of this, Summerlin Animal Hospital is requiring all canine boarders to be vaccinated for canine influenza. We are also recommending that dogs who participate in activities listed in the above paragraph be vaccinated for canine influenza. The initial vaccination requires two doses, given 3 to 4 weeks apart, followed by annual revaccination. For boarders that will be staying with us during the next month, we recommend that you come in as soon as possible to start the vaccine series so that some immune protection is initiated. The vaccine will then need to be boostered 3 to 4 weeks later. During the next month we will not turn away boarders that have not completed the vaccination process, but we will require that the vaccine be given. The vaccine is $20 per dose. No exam fee will be charged for pets that require only the influenza vaccine to become current on vaccinations.