Minnesota is experiencing an outbreak of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) caused by the H3N2 strain, and recently positive cases were confirmed in nearby Ramsey and Wright counties.
Canine influenza is highly contagious and can potentially cause life-threatening pneumonia. This poses a threat to our pets in Hennepin County because:
- 1) CIV can spread quickly -- infected dogs shed the virus before they show signs of illness. Therefore PREVENTION with vaccination is critical!
- 2) CIV can spread easily – it is a respiratory virus that transmits well in groups of dogs
- 3) CIV is a relatively new virus in the dog population – which means your dog doesn’t have pre-existing immunity and will likely become ill if exposed to the virus.
VCA Animal Wellness Center is committed to protecting your pet from CIV. We now carry the vaccine that protects against both the H3N2 and H3N8 strains that are circulating in the dog population.
Starting September 1st, we will require this vaccine for our daycare and boarding guests to protect them from the flu. However, if you have boarding or daycare plans scheduled, we encourage you to start the vaccine now to build your dog’s immunity.
Does your dog spend time with groups of other dogs, such as in daycare, boarding facilities, dog shows, obedience classes, grooming salons, or dog parks? These are situations where a respiratory virus such as CIV can spread easily. Vaccination against both strains is currently recommended for any dogs that have a lifestyle compatible with exposure to the virus.
If your dog enjoys a social lifestyle as described above and you would like to protect them against CIV, please call our clinic at 763-420-7958 to set up the initial vaccination series (two injections, 3 weeks apart). The vaccine can be updated once annually thereafter for dogs whose lifestyles continue to need it.
Most dogs that contract influenza will experience a mild respiratory illness, characterized by a moist cough, sneezing and nasal discharge, mild fever, and decreased appetite. Most of these patients will just need good supportive care to recover. However, a subset of these dogs will develop severe respiratory illness that may need hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial pneumonia, nutritional support, and even oxygen support. Canine influenza can be fatal in a small percentage of cases.
Therefore, if you notice a cough or any of the other above symptoms in your dog, please call us right away to schedule an exam.
For more information about canine influenza and the latest outbreak updates, please visit doginfluenza.com or feel free to call us.
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