Canine Influenza H3N2 Vaccine FAQ

posted: by: Carla Pfeiffer, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Dog Flu (H3N2) vaccine now available

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Dog flu (H3N2) FAQ:

1.     What are the symptoms of the dog flu? Within 2-4 days after exposure to the virus approximately 80% of infected dogs will show one or more of the following symptoms:

a.      Cough/nasal discharge/sneeze – can persist for 10-21 days even in mild cases

b.     Vomiting/retching/gagging

c.      Mild elevation in temperature to severe fever/lethargy

d.     Pneumonia/difficulty breathing

e.      Death – 0.5% ( 1 in 1000 positive infections) - so far there have been 15 documented deaths specifically due to H3N2 since it was first discovered in Chicago in March 2015

2.     How is the vaccine given? The H3N2 vaccine is given subcutaneously, just like the Rabies vaccine.  2 doses of the vaccine are required 2 weeks apart before an immunity is established.  The immunity will last for 1 year.  Yearly boosters (1 dose) are then required to continue the immunity.

3.     How do I know if my dog should get the vaccine?  The H3N2 virus is airborne therefore your pet does not have to have direct contact with an infected dog to be exposed, however some dogs are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and getting sick.  Dogs that go to dog parks, doggy day care, boarding facilities, groomers and other high dog traffic areas are at a higher risk. Any dog that currently receives the Bordatella vaccine should get vaccinated against H3N2.  Also some owners present a high risk for their pets.  For instance, if you are a dog foster parent, volunteer at a dog rescue or shelter, work at a dog grooming facility or frequent dog shows or any other situation where you may come in contact with dogs of unknown history and vaccination status you could present a risk to your pet.  The H3N2 virus can remain in an infective state on human skin for up to 12 hours, and on clothing for up to 48 hours.

4.     How safe is the vaccine?  Preliminary studies have shown that the vaccine is quite safe.  None of the vaccinated dogs in the study had any reactions to the vaccine.  None of the dogs that were vaccinated became sick after being exposed to the virus, while 80% of the unvaccinated dogs became ill after being exposed to the virus.

5.     When can I get my dog vaccinated? Our usual vaccination protocols apply and are specific to your pet.  Please call us to discuss when it would be appropriate to get your dog vaccinated.