March 16, 2016
CANINE INFLUENZA VIRUS (H3N2 AND H3N8)
Click here to view the Maps of CIV confirmed cases. (Cornell University)
Click here for FAQ's about Canine Influenza and precautions you can take. (AVMA)
History of CIV in the US: In spring 2015, the Chicago area dog population was hit with a new, more potent strain of canine influenza virus (CIV) named H3N2. It caused more than 2,000 cases of respiratory illness in dogs and several deaths.
Like its relative, H3N8, which has been affecting dogs with a milder form of respiratory illness since 2005, H3N2 CIV is spread through dog-to-dog contact, indirectly through infected items such as shared dog toys, and through the air via coughs and sneezes. Since the Chicago outbreak, more than 20 states, including Wisconsin, have reported cases of H3N2 CIV in their dog population.
“Dogs in boarding facilities, dog daycare, animal shelters, canine sporting events, and veterinary medical care facilities are at a higher risk of contracting either of these diseases,” says Dr. Elizabeth Alvarez, head of the UW Veterinary Care (UWVC) Primary Care Service and clinical instructor in the Department of Medical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM).
A vaccine for the prevention of H3N8 CIV has been on the market for several years but was rarely used in the Midwest due to the low incidence of the disease in this area. Regardless, dogs that were vaccinated with the H3N8 vaccine were not protected from contracting the disease caused by the new H3N2 strain.
However, two major veterinary pharmaceutical companies announced the availability of a vaccine for the prevention of H3N2 CIV. Appanasha Pet Clinic has a supply of this new vaccine (H3N2) as well as the H3N8 vaccine. Clients who would like to learn more about the CIV vaccines are encouraged to discuss their dogs’ lifestyle and risks of infection with their veterinarian.
Dogs six weeks and older may receive the vaccine. Two to three weeks following the initial vaccine, dogs must receive a booster, which will provide full immunity after two additional weeks. Annual vaccines are recommended after that.
“Remember, CIV is just one of several pathogens that cause Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, so work with your veterinarian to keep your dog current on all necessary vaccinations,” says Dr. Sandi Sawchuk, UWVC primary care veterinarian and clinical instructor in the Department of Medical Sciences.