Canine influenza is a respiratory disease that can cause coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, loss of energy, and loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs but the coughing caused by canine influenza can last for several weeks. With proper care, most dogs generally recover from this disease. However, canine influenza can lead to more severe or even life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, and has been fatal in up to 8% of cases.
Because canine influenza is caused by a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. And since it's highly contagious, visiting places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, doggie daycares, dog parks or groomers, puts dogs at higher risk for catching this new virus. Making things more difficult is the fact that dogs can spread the virus before the coughing and other signs of sickness appear.
The best way to protect your dog from canine influenza is through vaccination. Like the human flu vaccine, the new canine influenza vaccine doesn't completely prevent infection but it can dramatically reduce the severity of the disease. The vaccine also significantly reduces the amount of virus that dogs shed, minimizing spread to other dogs.
We recommend vaccinating dogs against canine influenza. To give your dog the most complete protection, the initial vaccination requires two doses of vaccine given 2 to 4 weeks apart followed by a single booster dose given annually. Please call us to discuss any questions you might have or if would like to schedule your dog to receive this vaccination.