Flu season is approaching rapidly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get their flu vaccine before it starts, especially those at higher risk.
Canine flu season is here, as well. The dog version has many of the same signs as the human version. Some of the symptoms are high fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, etc., up to and including pneumonia and death. It is transmissible from dog to dog through the air, so, if your pet is around other dogs, they are at risk.
If you are planning to board your pets for the holidays or drop them off at doggy day care, then this is a serious consideration. A few years ago, canine influenza caught us unaware and was extremely devastating to the dogs that got it.
Now, we know the canine influenza has two predominant strains, H3N2 and H3N8. It originated as the N8 version, changed to the N2, so now both strains show up in testing. This makes vaccine recommendations change as well.
We recommend a bi-valent vaccine for both types of strains. Initially, it is a two-dose series given three weeks apart, then an annual vaccination, thereafter.
Canine flu can spoil your post-holiday plans, if you come home to find Fido is sick. We, like many boarding facilities, require the flu vaccine for dogs being boarded.
Remember, for the best protection, get the second booster before dropping your pet off for that stay at the boarding kennel. And, it’s not a bad idea if you get a flu shot for yourself.
By Dr. Christopher Alvey, contributing writer, veterinarian and owner of BridgeMill Animal Hospital.