Archive for December, 2015

Canine Influenza Virus Immunization

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
Vaccine for dog flu

Vaccine for dog flu

Great News – A new targeted H3N2 Canine Influenza virus immunization has been developed and should be available very soon. We are proud to be able to offer the new H3N2 canine specific influenza virus immunization. We are advising all patients going to daycare, boarding facilities of any type, or dog shows to be immunized. We hope to have the vaccine by early December 2015.

FDA Approval

You may hear that the vaccine’s approval is ‘conditional’. This means that because of the importance of this vaccine for pets, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is comfortable allowing the vaccine to be administered while they continue their approval process. The drug manufacturer Zoetis, a New Jersey company, is one of the world’s leading animal health care companies ( We are very confident in their work and their products.

We strongly recommend that you get your dog vaccinated. If there are any underlying conditions that might preclude your dog from receiving the vaccine, we will incorporate these in our plan.

History of the H3N2 dog flu

The new canine influenza virus (H3N2) is a bird flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. It has affected over 1,500 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest in the past 6 months. This virus is different from the H3N2 human seasonal virus. This virus is also different from the previously recognized canine influenza virus in dogs that originated from horses (H3N8) in 2004.

The canine influenza H3N2 virus was first recognized in South Korea in 2007. The virus did spread to China and Thailand. In April of 2015, the virus was first recognized in the United States.

Dog flu symptoms

Both the H3N2 and the H3N8 canine influenza viruses can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. The symptoms are more severe with the H3N2 virus and may result in a secondary pneumonia. The H3N2 influenza virus has also infected and caused respiratory illness in cats.

There is a specific test that has been developed to detect the canine influenza H3N2 virus and should be performed if your pet experiences any of the above symptoms.

Prior vaccine for H3N8

Canine influenzaThere was no evidence that the previous H3N8 immunization had any value in protecting patients against the more serious H3N2 virus. We have been advising not immunizing with the H3N8 vaccine, since these are different viruses and cross protection was not documented. We did not want our clients feeling a sense of false protection.

We spoke to the leading researcher in the H3N2 canine influenza virus at Cornell University in October; he felt that the targeted H3N2 canine influenza virus immunization would be available soon. We have advised minimizing exposure to areas where the virus may be transmitted such as dog shows, daycare facilities and high volume boarding facilities, particularly if positive H3N2 patients have been documented.

Researchers at Cornell University, University of Wisconsin and Kansas State University have been instrumental in the development of the new immunization.


If you have any questions, please call us and speak with one of our doctors.