Beginning in March of this year, news quickly covered news stations and the web, warning of an outbreak of a new strain of Canine Influenza, H3N2, affecting dogs in Chicago and rapidly spreading to other surrounding states in the following several months after. News died down after the strain appeared to be contained and under control….until recently when articles began surfacing HERE in Arizona of “confirmed” cases of the new strain affecting our state! Although, no cases of H3N2 have been proven to be confirmed in Arizona, we want to ensure all of our clients and the general public are informed and aware of the virus. Also, we here at Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic, are glad to announce that WE NOW CARRY vaccinations available for BOTH Dog Flu strains!!

What do you need to know about H3N2?

  1. There are TWimagesO strains of canine influenza (dog flu), H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N8 strain has been around since 2004 and is nationwide, while the H3N2 being the “newer” strain to enter the United States, confirmed as of this year.
  2. BOTH strains of dog flu are HIGHLY contagious, in fact, many dogs can carry and spread the virus without ever showing symptoms of being ill.
  3. Dogs potentially at risk include those who frequent dog parks, boarding, training and grooming facilities or any facility where many dogs are present.
  4. Symptoms of both strains include symptoms similar to that of kennel cough making dog flu even more difficult to diagnose without the use of further diagnostic testing. Some of the main symptoms include coughing, sneezing, lethargy, discharge from eyes and/or nose and decreased appetite. Early symptoms, if not treated, can lead to secondary bacterial infections and even pneumonia!
  5. Dog flu is spread via respiratory secretions spread into the air by coughing, barking or sneezing, or contaminated objects/people. The virus can remain active on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for up to 24 hours and on hands for up to 12 hours.
  6. H3N2 HAS been reported to infect cats in other countries, but is NOT known to have affected ANY cat within the United States to date. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines available to cats at this time. H3N2, nor H3N8, are infectious to humans; therefore, you cannot get these flu viruses from your pet, nor can your pet get flu viruses from you.

What can you do to protect your pet?

  1. A vaccine for H3N8 has been available in the united states for many years, but has not been considered a core vaccine as most symptoms of this strain are self limiting, with most pets not showing any symptoms or improving without treatment; however, the newer strain has proven to cause more severe symptoms, potentially life threatening ones.
  2. A vaccine has recently since been created and released for the H3N2 strain and we are glad to announce that we here at The Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic are now carrying vaccinations for BOTH strains of this virus available to our clients.
  3. An initial vaccination will be given, then followed up with a booster vaccination 3 weeks later. Two weeks after the booster vaccine is given, your pet is considered to be protected. Vaccination is not always 100% effective (just as human flu vaccination); however, it has been proven to significantly LESSEN the effects and symptoms of the virus IF your pet does happen to acquire it even after vaccination.
  4. Vaccination is recommended to all dogs who frequent areas with high populations of other dogs.
  5. At this time, TSVC will not REQUIRE that pets boarding or grooming at our facility be up to date on the Canine Influenza vaccinations; however, we will provide education to our clients and it will be suggested to consider the vaccination and make the best educated decision from there.

If you are wanting to have your dog vaccinated for Canine Influenza, please contact us with any further questions or to schedule an appointment to protect your dog today!!