The canine influenza virus can cause respiratory diseases in dogs. Though most infections are mild, some pups can fall seriously ill. In this post, our Norristown vets discuss the canine influenza vaccine, its current availability and our policies and procedures for visiting our hospital with a sick dog.
What is Canine Influenza?
As you may be aware, there have been rising cases of canine respiratory diseases in recent months, some of which have been caused by the Canine Influenza virus. The influenza virus is spread most easily in overcrowded or high-population environments, such as boarding facilities, dog parks, pet stores, grooming facilities, and veterinary hospitals. Spread occurs via direct nose-to-nose contact, aerosol transmission, and other objects like shoes and clothing.
After infection, clinical signs of illness can occur within 2-5 days, and the virus can shed for up to 28 days, even in dogs that do not appear sick. While most infections are mild and can resolve without treatment, some may become sick, requiring longer-term medical care. If your dog is sick, please keep them isolated from other dogs for at least 30 days.
How many doses of the canine influenza vaccine does my dog need?
It is our recommendation that all dogs exposed to other dogs be vaccinated against Bordetella as well as Canine Influenza. If your pet has never received an Influenza vaccine in the past, an initial vaccine is given, followed by a booster 3-4 weeks later. Please be aware that immunity does NOT occur until one week after the booster, so a single vaccine is unlikely to be protective.
Unfortunately, this outbreak comes at a time when the Influenza vaccine is not available due to a national shortage from all suppliers. We are utilizing every resource to get the vaccines back in stock as quickly as possible and we anticipate being fully stocked in just a couple of weeks. We are maintaining a wait-list for our clients who would like their dog to receive the Influenza vaccine. Please contact us to be added to the list.
New Appointment Protocols for Coughing Dogs
Due to the highly infectious nature of the Canine Influenza, if your dog is coughing, we ask that your dog remain in the car upon arrival to our hospital. When you are scheduling an appointment, please be sure to let our team know your dog is coughing, and we can provide further direction or assistance when you arrive. A team member will escort you and your dog directly into the hospital when the doctor is ready.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.