Canine Influenza Virus
There’s an awful lot of chatter out there regarding the canine influenza virus (CIV) in the dog daycare industry. There’s been an outbreak in the south of the H3N2 strain and it is rapidly growing spreading through the country. We’ve been keeping tabs on the spread. Today we participated in a learning session to hear the latest about the virus. Below are some highlights we learned:
- There are two active strains of CIV in the US: H3N8 (active since 2004) and H3N2 (active since 2015, but has had a recent outbreak in May of this year).
- Either or both of the viruses have been identified in 46 states so far. RI only has had H3N8 (but MA has had both).
- The viruses are transmitted either directly or indirectly to dogs from other dogs. HUMANS are popular carriers for the dog virus on our hands, shoes, and clothing. It is important to wash hands regularly!!
- Where H3N8 can be transmitted up to 5 days after the observation of symptoms, H3N2 can be transmitted 24 days after the onset of symptoms (even after the dog appears to be feeling well again).
- The only preventative measure is to vaccinate your pet. Initial vaccinations must be given in two doses, two to four weeks apart. Immunization starts two weeks after the second dose. This means that it could take anywhere from a month to six weeks to immunize your dog against the vaccination.
The City of Pawtucket and the State of Rhode Island have not mandated that dogs be vaccinated. Still, area vets are strongly recommending that dogs begin getting treated. Even if the vaccine is not 100% effective, it can still assist in combating the spread and severity of of the illness (which includes death in some cases).
Friends of Toto is not yet requiring all of our customers be immunized, but we’re also strongly recommending it. Take advantage of the fact that the disease is not here to get your dogs immunized. The financial and physical costs for waiting are too extensive!!