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Should your Dog get the Flu Shot?

Recent Outbreaks

Back in 2015, a new strain of dog influenza (H3N2) tore through a few major US cities. Experts tracking the virus believe that its spread in the US started in Chicago. According to the New York Times, “over nearly two months, at least 1,500 dogs fell ill, many for as long as three weeks”. Over the next few months the strain spread across the midwest. By the time the viruses spread had been contained, they determined the Chicago outbreak to be the worst the city had experienced in 35 years. The AMVA reported a  resurgence of the H3N2 virus in May 2017. Areas affected included Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Illinois.

Are Vaccines Mandatory?

Although there isn’t an active outbreak today, the infection is always possible. To prevent the transmission of canine influenza, there are flu shots available. Does your dog need one? The answer depends on your dog’s lifestyle and general health. Unlike the rabies vaccine, laws do not require your dog to be flu vaccinated. In fact, most vets don’t advise vaccinating your dog for the flu on a regular basis. Rather, only dogs that spend lots of time around many other dogs should be getting the vaccine.

Which Dogs Should Be Vaccinated?

Veterinarians recommend that dogs that show, get regular weekly grooming, go to doggy daycare, or are boarded for long periods should be vaccinated. Being around other strange dogs from many different places increases their risk of catching canine influenza. Vets also recommend vaccinating dogs with chronic health conditions or specific breed traits. Dogs with chronic respiratory diseases could suffer worse and longer if they were to catch the virus. Experts recommend that dogs hailing from breeds with short snouts (like bulldogs and pugs) receive the vaccine.

To get more information on Canine Influenza check out these links:

Canine Influenza Resources

H3N2 CANINE INFLUENZA VIRUS FACT SHEET

CDC Key Facts on Canine Influenza

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