An outbreak of canine influenza has recently been reported to the state veterinarian. The outbreak originated in a daycare/boarding facility in Providence.
Canine influenza is a relatively new disease identified in the canine world. It is mutated from the Influenza A strain found in horses. Because it is a relatively new virus, virtually every dog that is exposed will contract the virus. Up to 20% of dogs will show no signs. The virus is very contagious and can last up to 12 hours on a human's hands and up to 24 hours on objects or clothing. The signs are very similar to canine kennel cough, but can be accompanied by fever, lethargy, and a runny nose. In a small percentage of cases, the virus can progress into pneumonia. Because the virus is similar to kennel cough, it can be officially diagnosed with laboratory testing.
There is a vaccine available; it requires 2 vaccines given 2-3 weeks apart, and yearly boosters after that. We have not made it part of our "core" vaccines because canine influenza is not common in this region. Those most effected are those that go to daycare,training facilities or frequent dog parks. Although the vaccine is not always 100% effective (because viruses can mutate frequently) it has been shown that vaccinated dogs typically have milder symptoms.We'd be happy to discuss whether the vaccine should become part of your dog's vaccine protocol.
For more information go to http://doginfluenza.com