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Canine Influenza H3N2 Update
Greetings South Hyland Pet Hospital family. We would like to update you on the newer canine influenza situation. The new strain of the virus, H3N2, caused outbreaks in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin in 2015, with isolated cases in Minnesota in the Detroit Lakes area. Current information on this strain shows a rapidly spreading pattern of disease that has now been found in most US states, with current outbreaks in Missouri and the Seattle area. This strain is highly contagious, and is easily spread by brief contact between dogs or by contaminated things in the environment such as pet dishes, toys, or even on clothes of people. Infected dogs are contagious even before they develop symptoms, and remain contagious for 24 days. The main symptoms include cough, fever and lethargy. Coughing can persist for up to 60 days. Pneumonia is common. Some pets become very ill and require around the clock hospital care. Three to five percent of infected dogs die. The disease IS contagious to cats as well, although no current vaccine for cats is available.
A vaccine for this new virus strain is now available. At this time, we are recommending that dogs who are around other dogs (such as grooming, boarding, dog parks, pet store visits, doggie daycare, homes who foster dogs) or dogs that travel outside of Minnesota with their families be vaccinated. We currently have this vaccine in stock. Vaccination involves receiving an initial injection followed by a booster injection 3-4 weeks later. Protective immunity is present two weeks AFTER the second injection. Cost of the vaccine is $27.66 per injection. Dogs who are enrolled in a South Hyland Pet Hospital Wellness Plan may receive the vaccines at no additional charge, as part of the plan.
To be clear, while several other states currently are experiencing flu outbreaks, there are no known active cases in Minnesota at this time. However, with what we now know about how quickly this virus was transmitted, we do not feel that waiting for a local outbreak is an effective preventative strategy. It will take dogs up to 42 days from initial vaccine to have adequate protection, which would be too late.
Please call the clinic at 952-884-1868 if you would like to schedule your dog for vaccination, or if you have further questions about the vaccine or canine influenza.
The Doctors at South Hyland Pet Hospital