Flu Shots for Dogs

Flu is a disease that has been found in dogs and is believed to be caused by a virus that has mutated from equine influenza. Even if the flu is not necessarily a fatal disease, death cases have been reported. Dog flu shots are available for dogs to prevent death and complications caused by the canine flu. The administration of shots may also prevent the spreading of the virus.

The Canine Flu

The canine flu is a disease caused by a virus that has been mutated from other animals, most likely horses.

The disease will be manifested through coughing, fever, fast or irregular heart rate, eye and nasal discharges and a general state of weakness. The coughing can be moist or dry and lasts up to 1 month. In severe cases, the lungs are also affected. The dog flu can cause complications and lung lesions.

The flu can have more severe forms in dogs with a shorter nose and different anatomy of the respiratory tract. This can cause the virus to spread more quickly to the lungs.

The flu virus can be easily spread through direct contact with an infected canine or through air or other objects that have been in contact with the dog’s saliva or other secretions. Dogs in kennels can easily get infected, but a dog may also catch the virus at a vet office or at a grooming salon.

Flu Vaccine Benefits

Dogs are not immune to influenza and they cannot build immunity to the virus.

The flu vaccine cannot prevent the infestation with the flu virus, but can reduce the symptoms of the disease. A vaccinated dog will suffer from less severe lung lesions and the coughing may also be reduced.

More importantly, the dog flu vaccine will prevent the shedding of the virus and the infestation of other canines. The dog flu virus is typically shed through saliva or other bodily secretions.

Canine Flu Vaccine Recommendations

The canine flu vaccine can be administered to dogs that are 6 weeks old or older. The vaccine can only be administered by a vet.

The vaccine is administered in 2 sessions scheduled 4 weeks apart.

The vet will recommend a yearly flu shot booster, but only if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, in dog day care, kennels or in the companionship of other dogs being more exposed to the flu virus.

Flu Vaccine Risks

Some dog owners may be skeptical in regards to administering an additional vaccine for flu, due to the fact that the vaccine has been associated with a few risks.

The flu vaccine contains the virus that causes the flu and there are chances that the dog develops the flu after getting the flu shot.

Other side effects may include fever and an allergic reaction at the injection site manifested through redness or swelling. In rare cases, the dog may develop anaphylactic shock and should be immediately taken to vet to prevent respiratory arrest.