Pet Care

Does Your Dog Need a Flu Shot?

Can your dog get the flu?

Yes – specifically, they can contract canine influenza, an emerging respiratory infection in dogs caused by the H3N8 virus. Sadly, 8 percent of those who contract canine flu will die from it. Most deaths occur in breeds that have short snub noses like English bulldogs and pugs. Up to 20 percent of exposed and infected dogs will not show clinical signs but will spread the virus to others in social environments like dog parks, playcare and pet resorts.

Dr. Ross, one of our former ER veterinarians, has firsthand experience with this potentially fatal infection. The first outbreak of canine influenza in the state of New Jersey happened at a kennel less than 5 miles from her clinic. The kennel was shut down by the CDC, and Dr. Ross saw dogs for months afterwards with varying signs, from mild cough to pneumonia, all confirmed as influenza. Without a doubt, Dr. Ross and all of our doctors at The PARC know how serious the effects of canine flu can be.

The Canine Flu Vaccine

The USDA has approved a canine flu virus vaccine. Studies indicate that the vaccine can reduce the incidence and severity of lung lesions as well as the duration of coughing and viral shedding (spreading). What this means is that the vaccine won’t completely prevent your dog from contracting the canine flu but will help lessen the severity of the illness.

Our doctors are recommending it for any patient whose lifestyle includes risk for exposure to canine influenza, and it’s a required vaccine when using boarding or salon services at The PARC and The PARC Grand Resort. The first time a pet receives the vaccine, we will follow it up with a booster 2-4 weeks later. We recommend you update your dog’s vaccine on a yearly basis.

If your pet is a current client of The PARC, and we’ve seen them within the last year, we can administer the vaccine without a physical examination. But if you’re a new client or your pet’s last visit was over a year ago, you’ll need to have our doctor perform a physical exam before administering the vaccine.

Want to learn more about the canine flu virus vaccine? Call us to schedule an appointment