Recently, we've been receiving questions from some of our pet owners about dog flu. They were concerned about stories they had seen or read in the news about 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 dog flu, what puts dogs at risk and what can be done to protect them.
Dog flu is a relatively new disease and can be caused by two different canine influenza virus strains, H3N8 and H3N2. Both strains of dog flu virus cause respiratory disease in dogs. Affected dogs may develop coughing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs. With proper medical attention, most dogs will recover. However, in some cases, dog flu can progress to a more severe or even life-threatening condition, such as pneumonia.
Dog flu is highly contagious, so visiting places where dogs socialize or congregate, such as doggie day cares, dog parks, groomers, boarding facilities, dog shows, and urban locations, places dogs at higher risk for becoming infected. Making the situation even more difficult to control is that dogs can spread the virus before signs of illness appear.
The best way to protect your dog from dog flu is through vaccination. Fortunately, there is a vaccine now available for both dog flu strains. The initial vaccination requires two doses, given 2 weeks apart. Thereafter, an annual booster is recommended for continued protection.
Springhurst Animal Hospital will have the vaccine starting this Friday, June 9. We will not be charging an office visit if patient is only being seen for the Flu Vaccine. The Flu vaccine will now be required for all boarding, grooming, surgeries, and drop off patients. We recommend that your dog get the vaccine before coming in for boarding. Then they can receive their booster vaccine in 2 weeks. Please call the office today to schedule your appointment.