To Our Pet Parents,
We were recently notified by the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association that there have been multiple confirmed cases of canine influenza in Stamford, Connecticut. We are writing to tell you about canine influenza, more commonly known as “dog flu,” what puts dogs at risk, and what can be done to protect them.
Canine influenza is a disease that can be caused by two different canine influenza virus strains, H3N8 and H3N2. Both strains of canine influenza virus cause respiratory disease in dogs. Affected dogs may develop coughing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs. With proper medical attention, most dogs will recover. However, in some cases, canine influenza can progress to a more severe or even life-threatening condition, such as pneumonia.
Canine influenza is highly contagious, so visiting places where dogs socialize or congregate, such as doggie day cares, dog parks, boarding facilities, grooming salons, and urban locations, places dogs at higher risk for becoming infected. Making the situation even more difficult to control is that dogs can spread the virus before signs of illness appear.
The best way to protect your dog from canine influenza is through vaccination. Fortunately, there are vaccines now available for each canine influenza strain, H3N8 and H3N2. The initial vaccination requires two doses of each vaccine, given 2 to 4 weeks apart. Thereafter, an annual booster for each influenza strain is recommended for continued protection. The vaccination that we administer contains both strains H3N8, as well as H3N2.
We recommend vaccinating dogs against both canine influenza H3N8 and H3N2. Our vaccine contains both strains, is a killed virus, and is Thimerosal free. Please call us to discuss any questions you might have, or to set up an appointment.
Christine Scruggs, VMD
Deep River Animal Hospital