Does Fido Need a Flu Shot?

Canine influenza is an emerging respiratory infection in dogs caused by the H3N8 virus. Sadly, 8% of those who contract canine flu will die from it. Most deaths occur in breeds that have short snub noses like English Bulldogs and Pugs. Up to 20% of exposed and infected dogs will not show clinical signs but will shed the virus to others in social environments like dog parks, playcare, and pet resorts.

Dr. Ross, who joined our team after relocating from Princeton, New Jersey, has first-hand experience with this potentially fatal infection. The first outbreak of Canine Influenza in the state of New Jersey happened at a kennel less than 5 miles from her clinic. The kennel was shut down by the CDC and Dr. Ross saw dogs for months afterwards with varying signs from mild cough to pneumonia, all confirmed as influenza. Without a doubt, Dr. Ross and all of our doctors at Hulen Hills and Metro West, know how serious the effects of canine flu can be.

In June, the USDA approved a new canine flu virus vaccine. Studies indicate that the vaccine can reduce the incidence and severity of lung lesions as well as the duration of coughing and viral shedding. What this means is that the vaccine won’t prevent your dog from contracting the canine flu, but will help lessen the severity of the illness.

Our doctors are recommending it for any patient whose lifestyle includes risk for exposure to Canine Influenza. The first time a pet receives the vaccine, we will follow up by administering a booster 2 – 4 weeks later. We recommend the vaccine be updated on a yearly basis.

If your pet is a current client of Hulen Hills, and we’ve seen Fido within the last year, we can administer the vaccine without a Physical Examination. If you are a new client or your pet’s last visit was over a year ago, our doctor is required to perform a Physical Examination prior to administering the vaccine. If you’re interested in learning more about the Canine Flu Virus Vaccine, or would like your pet to receive the vaccine, call us to schedule an appointment.