Canine Influenza Virus – Recent Recommendations

Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of a few highly contagious respiratory viruses that can cause canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD).  Other causes of CID include: kennel cough (Bordetella), canine parainfluenza, canine distemper, and canine adenovirus. These diseases spread rapidly throughout “at risk” dogs that are not properly immunized.An “at risk” dog would be one that stays at boarding facilities, goes to groomers, pet stores, dog parks, doggy day care, shows, and other places where he or she comes into contact with other dogs.Currently, there is an outbreak of canine influenza virus in the Chicago area that has received a lot of media attention.  Like the human influenza virus, pets that are infected may show mild signs that are likely to require no treatment at all. Some dogs may require treatment if they develop complications due to bacterial infections. Signs of these complications include: coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and on very rare occasions, death.  These signs, combined with the history of where your dog has been and what other dogs he/she has encountered will determine the urgency of a medical exam. Please call the office if you have any concerns.

Due to our relatively close proximity to this outbreak, we have changed our vaccination recommendations and boarding requirements to the following:CIRD Recommendations 4 13 2015 table**Note: all dogs must also be up-to-date on their rabies vaccination to board at the Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic**

Our veterinarians have been in contact with the laboratories, scientists, and other veterinarians on the front line of this current outbreak of CIV. Be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that we make the best recommendations for our patients. We seem to be receiving new information daily. Keep in mind that the above recommendations may change as we receive updated information.

As of Monday, April 13, we were informed that the Chicago outbreak strain is different from the strain that is in the current vaccine. The strain that is currently in the vaccine is the most common strain of canine influenza found in the United States. At this time, there is no data to indicate the vaccine will provide cross-protection for this new canine influenza strain. The CIV vaccine is new to the Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic; however, we are still recommending it to at-risk dogs, regardless of the strains, to prevent future outbreaks.

Points to remember:

  • Keep your dog home if possible, especially if he or she is exhibiting signs of respiratory disease.
  • Wash your hands and change your clothes if you have been around other dogs so you don’t bring the virus home to your own dog.
  • Vaccinate any at-risk dog.

For additional information, follow these links:
https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/canine/