“Dog flu” hasn’t been diagnosed in Seattle yet, but we’re encouraging dog families to vaccinate or booster your dog. Social dogs that are in contact with other dogs at dog parks, in day care, training classes, boarding or at the groomers may be at high risk of infection.
About the Flu Virus
The current flu bug is a highly contagious and potentially very serious respiratory infection caused by the canine influenza virus H3N2. Chances are, if your dog is exposed to H3N2, he or she may become infected.
How the Virus is Spread
Dogs can spread the virus even if they don’t appear sick. The virus can be spread dog-to-dog or through objects, including dog toys, bowls, and human hands, clothing, and shoes.
Severity of symptoms vary from a mild cough and runny nose, to a high fever, decreased appetite, severe pneumonia, and extreme lethargy. Symptoms can persist for weeks.
If you have a puppy, elderly, or pregnant dog, or a dog that has a chronic illness, you should take extra precautions.
The Best Prevention is Vaccination
Our office has vaccines available to help control illness associated with H3N2. We also have a second vaccine for another type of canine influenza, H3N8, which is likewise capable of causing severe respiratory disease in dogs (but to date has not been reported in Seattle).
Vaccination against both types of canine flu helps to ensure maximum protection. This is particularly important if you plan to board your dog in the near future or send him or her to a grooming or daycare facility.
Canine Upper Respiratory Package
We require all dogs that stay with us for boarding, grooming, or bathing to be vaccinated for both canine flu viruses H3N2 and H3N8. We are offering a Canine Upper Respiratory Package that includes both initial flu vaccines, plus the 3-week boosters.
If your dog is a current patient and up-to-date on his or her other vaccinations, the flu vaccines can be given during a brief complimentary nurse appointment.
What To Do if You Suspect Your Dog Has the Flu
If your dog develops a cough, nasal discharge, or fever, please call us right away. We have developed infectious disease protocols to help protect all our patients, and will advise you regarding how to bring your dog to our office to minimize the risk of infecting other patients.
If your dog becomes ill after hours, please call Seattle Veterinary Specialty Center on Capitol Hill at 206-624-9111.