Canine Influenza and Your Pet
By Kara Holden, Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT)
We want to first stress how highly contagious this virus is. The Canine Flu is an airborne virus and can live in the environment for 24-48 hours. This virus can spread on hands and clothes, bowls, toys and blankets. The 2 strains of Canine Influenza that your pet can be vaccinated against are H3N2 and H3N8. Here at WSVH, the vaccine we carry protects against both strains, not just one or the other. Dogs that are affected with Canine Influenza will have symptoms that include the classic dry/hacking cough, elevated temperature, nasal and eye discharge, inappetence and lethargy. Should your pet be exhibiting any of these signs, please contact the hospital.
Canine Influenza has been reported in other areas since 2004. Vaccinating against Canine Influenza has not been recommended by WSVH in the past due to its lack of prevalence in the area. Our veterinarians have been monitoring the virus closely since it was first reported in Texas in 2015. The latest strain was reported this year in Houston, Austin, and most recently, just south of Fort Worth. Our DVMs now believe it is time to start vaccinating against the Canine Flu.
Vaccination is key to protect your pet. Initially, our veterinarians will administer this vaccine twice, 3-4 weeks apart and then give annually thereafter. This can just be a technician appointment if you are a current client and we have seen your pet within the last year. If we haven’t seen your pet within the last year, one of our DVM’s will do a full exam to ensure the pet is healthy enough for the vaccine.
Your pet’s safety and well being is our utmost concern, especially when your pet is in our hospital. Be assured that our veterinarians and management team have devised a protocol to minimize exposure to pathogens within our hospital. Pets that are being seen for coughing/sneezing wait in the car with the owner until a room is ready. When possible we try to use only one exam room for patients exhibiting these symptoms, as well as be checked-out in the room as to not contaminate our lobby. We use high grade disinfectant after every single appt, exhibiting signs or not. These protocols are really nothing new for our hospital; we strive to make sure our facility is clean and safe for all our patients.