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Should I vaccinate my dog for Canine Influenza

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Recommendations from Cleveland, OH Veterinarian Dr. Deborah Fegan

June 1, 2015

My team and I continue to closely monitor the recent Canine Influenza outbreak (aka Dog Flu) that began earlier in Chicago. In last week’s update, I stated there was one confirmed dog flu case from Central Ohio. Since then, I am unaware of any other dogs having been diagnosed with this strain of Canine Influenza (H3N2) in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Canine Influenza Vaccine Information

  1. How Vaccinations Work – The body is given a harmless version, which mimics the harmful disease, so the body develops a defense. This allows the pet to better fight off the harmful version if infected.
  2. Canine Influenza Vaccination – The current Canine Influenza vaccination was developed to defend against the H3N8 strain of Canine Influenza which is different than the current outbreak H3N2 Canine Influenza strain.
  3. H3N8 Canine Influenza Vaccine – A H3N8 Canine Influenza vaccine was developed several years ago and is recommended for dogs live in areas that have seen this strain. (Unfortunately not the same strain as the current outbreak.)
  4. Canine Influenza Outbreak Maps –  I have links to 2 Canine Influenza Outbreak maps

Unfortunately, neither map shows recent outbreak sites, nor do they show all Dog Flu cases. However, it does show that very few cases of the H3N8 Canine Influenza strain (the one we have a vaccination against) have been diagnosed in Ohio in the past 8 years.

Based on this information, I am not recommending that my patients get the H3N8 Canine Influenza vaccine unless:

  1. They are traveling to an area where the original H3N8 Canine Influenza strain is present, or
  2. The H3N8 version is proved to be effective against this current H3N2 outbreak strain.

We will continue to monitor the canine influenza/dog flu outbreak and provide you updates, especially as it relates to pets in the Cleveland, OH area. If you have questions, please call us at 440-234-5831

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