Canine Influenza could be a Threat to Your Dog

With the holiday season upon us many people will be boarding their dogs. Recent reports of canine influenza mean that your dog should probably be vaccinated against this—especially if you plan on boarding your dog. Just as humans are encouraged by their doctors to get flu shots, veterinarians are urging dogs to get vaccinated for canine influenza.

What is Canine Influenza?

Australian Shepherd - Canine InfluenzaCanine Influenza is relatively new and it is very highly contagious. The cause is a strain of the influenza A virus known as H3N8.  Since it is a fairly new virus dogs have not had a chance to build any natural immunity to it. This means that the first time dogs are exposed to the virus virtually every dog will become infected.

This strain of canine influenza A does not cause any type of disease in people. It only affects dogs. But like a human influenza it can spread very quickly within the dog community. An alarming fact is that canine influenza has now been reported in 39 states.

Serious and Difficult to Diagnose

Canine influenza is not something to take lightly. It can be quite serious for your dog. A persistent cough is the main characterization for this dog flu. Since a cough is often a sign of a respiratory infection it is sometimes challenging to diagnose that it is actually canine influenza.

What Dogs are at Greater Risk for Canine Influenza?

The dogs that have a greater chance of contracting this flu are dogs that are in shelters and boarding facilities. It can spread very quickly here. But these are not the places where canine influenza can run rampant. Here are a few places that dogs are at a heightened risk of being exposed to canine influenza:

  • Boarding facilities
  • Dog shows
  • Dog parks
  • Training facilities
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Pet shops
  • Homes with multiple dogs

Prevention is the Best Medicine for Canine Influenza

Your dog(s) can be vaccinated against canine influenza. There is a safe and effective canine influenza vaccine that has been fully licensed by the USDA. It has been show to decrease the impact and control the spread of this serious disease.

Always consult with your veterinarian about any treatment for prevention or cure of your dog or if you notice any symptoms that might mean your dog has canine influenza.

Have you had your dog vaccinated for canine influenza? Do you plan on getting the vaccine? Let us know in the comment section below.


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Elizabeth Crane

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