PET OWNERS SEEKING DOG FLU VACCINE HAVE NEW “CLINIC LOCATOR” SEARCH TOOL
16 September 2010
Summit, N.J., September 16, 2010 – People thinking about flu shots for themselves may also want to consider protecting their canine friends from canine influenza. A new addition to the informational site www.doginfluenza.com enables dog owners to find local veterinarians who carry a vaccine that helps protect against dog flu. People looking for the vaccine can click on “Clinic Locator” and enter a zip code to get a map and list of veterinarians’ names and addresses. (http://www.doginfluenza.com/locator.asp)
The vaccine, Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8, was fully licensed by the USDA in June. It has been shown to significantly decrease the signs, severity and spread of canine influenza virus (CIV) infection, and reduce the incidence and severity of secondary infections such as pneumonia.
Although dog influenza is not a seasonal influenza, it spreads much the same way as human flu – through direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, through the air via a cough or sneeze and by contact with contaminated surfaces, such as hands, toys and clothing. Dogs with no signs of infection can spread the virus and often do not begin to cough until several days after they become contagious. There is no evidence that dog influenza can spread to humans.
First identified in 2004, dog flu has spread to 34 states and the District of Columbia to date. While dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible, the risk is even higher for “social” dogs -- those that board in kennels, come from shelters or rescue groups, attend dog daycare, participate in dog shows, go to grooming parlors, congregate in parks and other gathering spots and are owned by rescue group members or animal healthcare personnel. If a dog is vaccinated regularly for Bordetella, another common infectious disease in pets, it is also likely at risk for canine influenza infection. Dog owners should speak to their veterinarians about vaccination.