Should “Fido” also be getting a flu shot?

Posted By elaine on September 23, 2009

‘Tis the season….  You’re probably thinking about flu shots for yourself and your family right now, but don’t forget your four legged family member.ist2_6183911-veterinary-caduceus-symbol

Just this summer the first canine influenza vaccine was given conditional approval by the USDA.  Canine Influenza has been found in 30 states including Colorado.  The highly contagious virus often just causes a running nose and a cough, but it can cause more serious respiratory problems including pneumonia.  This usually requires costly hospitalization for your dog, and in extreme cases, they can even die.  The dog flu isn’t contagious for people, but it spreads like wildfire from dog to dog, especially in social environments, such as boarding kennels, dog parks, and  dog shows.  In previous years, dog flu outbreaks have forced several doggie day cares and even Greyhound race tracks to close their doors until it was under control.

As a result many kennels and doggie daycares are requiring the vaccine.  Even if you aren’t required to have the vaccine to board, if you are in close proximity to lots of other dogs it might be worth discussing with your veterinarian on whether or not to vaccinate.   If you want to protect your pets over the holidays you should vaccinate them soon – you have to wait two to four weeks between the first shot and the booster shot.   According to the maker, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, the shot is given by injection and is safe for puppies as young 6 weeks of age.  Since it is still under a “conditional” license it has to be administered by a licensed veterinarian so it can be monitored.

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