There has been an increase in discussion, media coverage, and worry regarding Canine Influenza (CIV) here in Texas. Considering that Texas ranks as one of the top 10 states with the most number of dog owners, we can understand why. We hope that knowing the facts and understanding how to protect your pet will put your mind at ease, so here are a few facts to consider regarding CIV in Texas:
To date there has been one documented case of the H3N2 strain of CIV documented in Texas in a dog that had recently traveled from Chicago where the initial outbreak occurred.
Although there isn't currently a vaccine for the H3N2 strain of canine influenza, one is reported to be in development. Keep in mind that existing CIV vaccines actually provide protection against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza. Vaccinated dogs are shown to develop less severe symptoms and are less likely to spread the disease. What is unknown, though, is if these vaccines provide any cross protection against H3N2.
Canine influenza is spread through exposure to respiratory secretions and can last in the environment for 2 days. So dogs that are at highest risk for CIV are those that spend time in areas with large populations of dogs such as groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities.
Reducing exposure to the virus is the best way to prevent the canine influenza illness. This includes avoiding exposure to other dogs showing respiratory signs, but it should be noted that infected dogs can be contagious to others several days before showing signs themselves.
Initially, there was a shortage of current CIV vaccinations, but increased production is beginning to meet recent demands. It is recommended that ALL dogs that come into contact with other dogs be vaccinated for Canine Influenza. Contact your veterinarian to update your pet's CIV vaccination.
While the current risk for H3N2 in our area is low, should your pet be experiencing any respiratory symptoms, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. We are always here to address any and all of your pet’s needs!