Several years ago an outbreak of Dog Influenza occurred in Racing Greyhounds that were exposed to horse influenza in Florida. It spread to several other locations and had a 1-5% death rate before it was identified. Recently a vaccine has been developed to help protect against it. You may hear about this in the news, especially as the News media is reporting on the human and swine flu season. The vaccine is not considered a “core” vaccine. That is, it is not required or needed for most pets. There are only about 5 areas in the US which have had outbreaks such as Florida and only in certain situations, show or competition dogs, kennel/boarding situations, etc. Dogs that travel especially to areas such as shows, breeding facilities and other areas of multiple dog exposure may be more susceptible. Most dogs if they get it will have a “bad cold/cough” however as in human flu only a few could progress to a serious or life threatening illness. It is not an epidemic and the average dog does not need this vaccination at this time.
More recently another outbreak of Canine Influenza has broken out is some areas mainly in the Chicago area and a few other places. It is caused by a virus, thought to have arrived from Southeast Asia with some adopted dogs. It is a different strain from the previous Canine Influenza and there is no vaccine for it. Luckily although some pets can get very sick with it, fever, diarrhea, or respiratory symptoms, most can be treated with supportive care such as IV fluids and antibiotics. Call us with any concerns about signs of illness with your pets.