Canine Influenza Vaccine

Canine influenza vaccine has been recently developed and is a strong vaccine that can help control influenza in dogs. Canine influenza is also known as H3N8 and commonly causes canine infectious respiratory disease.

Canine Influenza

Canine influenza virus is a new and contagious virus that is widespread in certain states in the US. The symptoms are similar to those caused by kennel cough and thus, there exists a risk of wrong diagnosis. Ailing pets can infect other canines for 7 to 10 days and infected dogs take 2 to 3 weeks to recover from canine influenza. Although most dogs get a mild form of the influenza, some dogs are more severely affected and complications such as pneumonia can arise. The infection strikes areas such as dog shelters, kennel facilities and veterinary hospitals that have a large population of dogs.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza:

Canine Influenza Vaccine

The recently developed canine influenza vaccine can help reduce the spread of this disease and the severity of its symptoms. The vaccine can also reduce the occurrence of the disease and prevent complications such as pneumonia. However, it doesn’t prevent dogs from contracting the infection. It does decrease the duration of coughing and the severity of lung lesions. The vaccine has been successfully tested on dogs and is found to be safe and well tolerated by pets. It has also been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture for a conditional license.

This vaccine has been classified as a non-core vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association and should be administered to dogs that are likely to be exposed to the influenza virus. All dogs, therefore, needn’t be vaccinated against canine influenza. Only those dogs that come in contact with other pets or dogs housed at boarding facilities need to take the vaccine. Dogs that need to be vaccinated against kennel cough should also be administered the canine influenza vaccine. Pet owners should consult their vets and decide whether their pet needs to be vaccinated or not. Factors such as the dog’s lifestyle and location of residence should be considered when making a decision.

Benefits of Canine Influenza Vaccine              

This vaccine can be safely administered to healthy dogs that are more than 6 weeks old. Since the vaccine reduces the severity of the symptoms of canine influenza, vaccinated dogs have reduced discharge from the eyes and nose along with reduced symptoms of coughing, sneezing and depression. Vaccinated pets are less likely to develop lung lesions, they have reduced days of viral shedding and are also contagious for fewer days. The vaccine can be administered through 2 doses of subcutaneous injections given 2 to 4 weeks apart. Each dose should have 1 ml of the vaccine. The dog should be revaccinated after a year and only one dose is required at that time. The canine influenza vaccination is manufactured by Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health Corporation and contains a small percentage of the killed canine influenza virus. Hence, the vaccine can’t cause respiratory infections.

Pet owners should have their dogs vaccinated only after consultation with the vet and after weighing the pros and cons of administering the vaccine.