Yorkie DentistSome of you may remember this time last year, when a new strain of canine influenza rocked this region. When this new bug emerged, there was no vaccine that was effective against it, thankfully that has changed. The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center are one of the first to have our hands on the new canine flu vaccine and are eager to share this with concerned pet owners.

The Changing Face of Canine Influenza

Canine influenza first appeared in the United States in 2004. Until that point, it was virtually unheard of for dogs to be infected with any type of flu virus.

When canine influenza was first detected, it was seen mostly in racing Greyhound community. Since that time, however, we have seen canine influenza from time to time in situations where many dogs comingle, such as boarding facilities.

The original strain of canine flu was caused by the H3N8 strain of the virus. An effective vaccination was developed, and we took a deep breath… until this year. In March of 2015 dogs in the Chicago area began to get sick with what looked like kennel cough. Unlike traditional kennel cough, however, a larger percentage of them became very sick. A few dogs died.

It was quickly discovered that the reason this outbreak was so serious was due to a new virus, the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, previously only seen in Asia.

The New Canine Flu Vaccine

While certain precautions could be taken to prevent dogs from contracting H3N2 influenza, we were left pretty defenseless without an effective vaccine. Thankfully, a canine flu vaccine effective against H3N2 has just entered the market. We are happy to be one of the first hospitals in the nation to be able to provide our clients with this vaccine. Here is what you need to know:

  • It is for use in healthy dogs at least eight weeks old.
  • Initially two doses must be administered at a three week interval.
  • Dogs who are at high risk (we can help you determine this) should be vaccinated.
  • Supply is limited at this time.

Because we do not know how much vaccine we will have available, we are encouraging all dog owners who have pets at risk to not delay in getting their pet vaccinated. Canine flu is a very contagious and potentially serious disease. Prevention is the best course of action.

If you would like to schedule your pet to receive his or her canine flu vaccine, or if you have further questions about the disease and your pet’s risk, we are happy to chat. Please give us a call today so we can get started providing your pet with the best prevention available.