Canine Influenza: A Real Threat To Your Canine Companion
We have always strived to do the very best to take care of our guests and make our environment as safe as possible for all of our guests. As such, for the first time in our 35 year history, we are adding a vaccination requirement for our canine guests.
Canine influenza (CIV), or dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs. Currently, two strains of canine influenza virus have been identified in the United States: H3N8 and H3N2. Canine H3N8 influenza was first identified in Florida in 2004 in racing greyhounds. Since being detected in 2004, canine H3N8 influenza has been identified in dogs in most of the U.S. Canine H3N2 influenza was first identified in the United States in March 2015 following an outbreak of respiratory illness in dogs in the Chicago area. In January of 2018, a dog in the South Bay was diagnosed with H3N2 strain of CIV. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in March there was another case in the county.
Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets, or aerosols, containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection. The virus can remain viable (alive and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Depending on the strain, the incubation period is 1-8 days. Dogs are most contagious during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but may shed the virus.
Similar to tracheobronchitis (canine cough), canine influenza virus results in a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and low appetite. Clinically, there seems to be two different forms of the disease: a mild form and a more severe form. With the more severe form, a secondary infection of pneumonia can develop. Unlike canine cough, canine influenza can be fatal.
Being part of VCA, a large network of veterinary health professionals, we are drawing on the recommendations and expertise of thousands of doctors. We feel that having a proactive approach is the very best thing we can do for our canine guests.
You must get your dog two(2) separate injections to be protected against CIV. The injections must be 2-4 weeks apart. We recommend that your dog is vaccinated with the bivalent vaccine–it protects against both strains. The vaccine is effective for one year after the second injection, at which time your dog will need to be re-vaccinated.
Beginning August 1, 2018*, we will be requiring all dogs to be vaccinated for CIV. We feel that the threat of CIV is significant enough to warrant this change in our vaccination policy. We highly recommend that you begin the vaccination series early so that your dog is fully vaccinated by our August 1st requirement.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (310)539-2201.
For more information, go to dogflu.com. Here you can also find a consolidated list of cases throughout the country.
* We previously announced June 1st as our CIV requirement date. We have extended it until August 1st.