Written by Senior Editor Peter Gehr
What the American Veterinary Medical Association says about dog flu. According to the AVMA, “it’s really based on the benefit-risk to a particular dog.” In other words, if your dog is very social and spends a lot of time with other animals, boarding facilities, kennels, group obedience training sessions, then it may be a good idea to vaccinate.
Dog flu can spread very quickly amongst other dogs, so to avoid such infection consult with your vet for their expert advice and the options available.
What the American Veterinary Medical Association Says About Dog Flu
“Dogs have no natural immunity to influenza whatsoever,” said Thomas Burns, veterinarian with Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth.
“All it takes is one dog in a kennel” to get sick to cause an outbreak, said veterinarian Claire Sharp, an assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
The virus has been reported in Massachusetts in companion animals and in greyhounds in 2005, she said.
According to media reports, the animal virus also has broken out in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado and Texas.
Flu symptoms in dogs are similar to those of a head cold in people. Fido may cough, sneeze, run a low-grade fever and experience discharge around the nose and eyes.
“For most dogs it’s a very mild disease,” Burns said.
The risk of an outbreak is too high for Cape Cod Farm Kennels, which can board up to 80 dogs at a time, McMorrow said.
Dogs start “shedding” the virus before they show symptoms, she said, which increases the risk of dog owners taking infected canines to places where other dogs congregate.
Pet groomers and other animal handlers also can pass along the virus on their clothing, Sharp said.
“The virus actually can live on our clothes,” she said. “It can live for a couple of days on inanimate objects.”
Approximately 5 to 8 percent of dogs exposed to the virus will die, Sharp said.
The relatively low mortality rate means the vaccine “wouldn’t be warranted for all dogs,” said Lynne White-Shim, a veterinarian and assistant director with the division of scientific activities at the American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, Ill.
“It’s really based on the benefit-risk to a particular dog,” she said.
For dogs that spend time near other dogs in kennels, doggie day care and socialize heavily at dog parks the vaccine would be a “good idea,” Burns said.
Veterinarians say they are not aware of any outbreaks of H3N8 on the Cape. Click here to visit the original source of this post
What the American Veterinary Medical Association says about dog flu is to basically take the precaution of immunization if your dog regularly spends a lot of time with other dogs. You should take the advice of your local vet who knows your pet and any possible risks you may need to consider. Again, it’s that “benefit-risk” factor that should be part of your decision-making. Keeping your dog healthy by giving him all the right foods, exercise and fresh water will keep his immune system optimized. However, do keep in mind that your dog has no natural immunity against influenza.