Village Veterinary Clinic would like to inform you about a recent outbreak of canine influenza virus (CIV) in the Houston area. We have been monitoring this issue closely and had not recommended vaccination for dogs since no prior risk of exposure had been documented in our area. Though we have not had a dog test positive for CIV here at Village Veterinary Clinic, we are starting to see reports of dogs testing positive in the greater Houston area. Due to these reports, we are now recommending that dogs coming into contact with other dogs outside their own household should be vaccinated for the canine influenza virus.
There are two strains of canine influenza, referred to as H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 was first diagnosed about 12 years ago in the United States, and the new H3N2 strain was first diagnosed in 2015 in the Midwestern states. This new influenza strain appears to spread more quickly and has just recently started to show up in Texas. Dogs can contract either canine influenza virus strain by contact with any respiratory secretions from another dog. This can be from sharing dog bowls, being around coughing or sneezing dogs, nuzzling, or even contact with contaminated clothes or owner hands that have come in contact with an infected dog. Clinical signs of the disease usually develop within 2-8 days after contact and can include coughing, sneezing, anorexia, nasal discharge, and fever.
We currently have the influenza vaccine that contains both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains of the virus and are recommending that all dogs that have exposure to other dogs be vaccinated for both strains. We are recommending the first vaccine as early as 12 weeks of age or as soon as possible for dogs older than 12 weeks with a risk of exposure. After the initial vaccine has been given, a second booster needs to be given within 2-4 weeks after the initial injection to acquire adequate immunity. After this first series of vaccines, the influenza vaccine then needs to be boostered once a year.
**We are now requiring that all patients that are boarding in our clinic be vaccinated for canine influenza to ensure that our other boarding pets and daily appointments are protected from this disease. Please call us to discuss your pet’s potential risk for exposure to canine influenza or to schedule a time to have your pet vaccinated.
Please see the following links below for more information on this disease. Feel free to call us anytime with any questions or concerns.