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Posted on 06-19-2017

Canine Influenza (“dog flu”) has been in the news again following several outbreaks in various parts of the country with a growing number located in the southeast. This has resulted in significant interest in the disease, as well as increasing questions and concerns from pet owners who have dogs with social lifestyles, including those that visit dog parks, attend doggy daycare, or participate in sporting or show events.
To help ensure you have the information you need to help protect the health and well-being of your dog, as well as other dogs or cats* you may have in your household, please note the following tips. Additionally, talk to your veterinarian about whether or not vaccinating against both strains of dog flu may be right for your dog.

  •  Dog flu is not the same as Canine Parainfluenza or Bordetella.
  •  There are two strains of dog flu – canine influenza virus (CIV) H3N8 and canine influenza virus H3N2. H3N8 has been around for several years but H3N2, an Asian strain of dog flu, was first identified in the United States in early 2015, which means dogs have not been exposed to it before and have no immunity.
  •  CIV H3N8 has been found in 42 states since first identified in 2003, and CIV H3N2 has been diagnosed in 30 states in the just the past two years.  
  •  H3N2 is incredibly contagious. It can be spread easily by direct contact with infected dogs (sniffing, licking, nuzzling), through the air (coughing, barking or sneezing), and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls and clothing.
  •  A dog may have the CIV H3N2 strain of dog flu for up to 24 days, which means the dog is contagious and spreading the disease throughout that time period. As a result, the infection can spread quickly among social dogs including those in sporting and show events.
  •  Nobivac® Canine Flu Bivalent is recommended for healthy dogs 7 weeks of age or older as an aid in the control of disease associated with CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2. Primary immunization requires two vaccinations given two to four weeks apart. Please allow two weeks after the last vaccination before your dog engages in social activities. Annual re-vaccination with one dose is recommended.
  • Vaccination is key to helping prevent the spread of canine influenza. "Dogs at risk should be vaccinated at least yearly with both influenza strains, H3N8 and H3N2, in addition to the other causes of 'Canine Cough',” says Dr. Ronald Schultz, DVM, Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at the University Of Wisconsin School Of Veterinary Medicine.
  •  Dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or take their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus.
  •  Owners should call their veterinarian immediately if their dog has the following clinical signs:

                o  Coughing
                o Discharge from the nose or eyes
                o Loss of appetite
                o Lethargy/lack of energy
*Dog flu has been diagnosed in cats, with both cat-to-cat and dog-to-cat transmission identified. There is no feline vaccine to protect against dog flu.

1Source: Syndromio Surveillance Data of Cynda Crawford, DVM, Ph.D., University of Florida; Edward Dubovi, Ph.D. Cornell University; Sanjay Kapil, DVM, Ph.D., ACVIM, Oklahoma State University; Rhode Island State’s Veterinary Office; and IDEXX Laboratories. February 2017.
2Source: IDEXX Laboratories, Feb. 2017. 3Updates in Canine Influenza Virus: Management, treatment and prevention of disease. VETgirl Webinar, July 27, 2015. Archived at www.vetgirlontherun.com. 4Product label. http://www.doginfluenza.com/Products/Overview.asp.

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