Due to the recent outbreak of Canine Influenza in Chicago, and at least one reported case of flu in Wisconsin, Westgate Pet Clinic is now recommending that all dogs that go to dog parks, kennels, and dog shows be immunized against Canine Influenza.
It is important to know that the flu outbreak in Chicago is a different variant of influenza virus then the available canine flu vaccine. Unlike the human influenza virus which mutates quickly and changes almost every year, the canine influenza virus in the United States has been stable as type H3N8 for years. The Chicago canine flu outbreak was caused by type H3N2, a variant that has not previously been seen in the United States. We are hopeful that the H3N8 flu vaccine will offer some immunity to the H3N2 virus.
Here are some important facts about Canine flu:
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the flu virus is highly contagious. "Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%)." Dogs that are very young, very old, and immune compromised dogs are at higher risk of complications from flu.
- Symptoms of canine inlfuenza include: lethargy, cough, fever and nasal discharge.