UPDATE ON CANINE INFLUENZA Our doctors have recently attended continuing education about this newest canine influenza virus, H3N2. This virus has shown up in Rigby, Idaho and there have been outbreaks in Seattle and Montana. A little more information:
1. About 80% of exposed dogs become sick, and about 8% die. The remainder may be infected and shed virus without symptoms.
2. Clinical symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, lerhargy, and coughing sometimes progressing to pneumonia. The sickest dogs are those that contract pneumonia. These dogs are also the most expensive to treat, often requiring hospitalization and oxygen for several days.
3. The virus sheds a very long time- up to 24 days. In addition, dogs begin shedding several days prior to showing symptoms.
4. It survives up to 2 days in the environment, so does not require dog to dog contact.
5. Dogs most at risk are those frequently attending doggy daycare, boarding kennels, grooming facilities, and other areas where they meet dogs commonly (trails). Also at higher risk of becoming severely ill are brachycephalic breeds (flat faced breeds such as pugs and bulldogs), the very young or very old, dogs with tracheal diseases such as tracheal collapse, and dogs with heart disease.
6. Outbreaks remain sporadic, but unpredictable.
With the above data in mind, AVACC has decided to offer the H3N2 vaccine. It must be boostered 2-4 weeks after the original dose to be effective. Reasons to consider vaccination:
1. If you own a dog that fits into one of the above high risk categories
2. Because outbreaks are unpredictable, and because it must be boostered to be effective, we will be "behind the 8 ball" if an outbreak occurs in Boise. In other words, many pets will become sick before we can get dogs effectively vaccinated.
3. When we do not vaccinate for disease, we see an increase in cases (such as recent outbreaks in whooping cough in children).
If you would like to learn more about the vaccine, please feel free to call or schedule an appointment.