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Pet Portals manage your pet's health online

27 Hartford Turnpike

Vernon, Connecticut 06066

Phone : (860) 645-1700

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Canine Influenza and vaccination information

January 21, 2011

Over the past several years, a highly contagious respiratory virus, called canine influenza, has emerged and has been steadily spreading around the country. This virus is highly contagious and potentially very serious. As a result, we feel it is now appropriate to consider vaccinating your dog against this virus. As with all of our vaccinations, we tailor our recommendations to your dog's individual exposure risk, based on his or her lifestyle and the concerns present in this part of the country. Therefore, if your dog goes to doggie daycare, boards at a kennel, attends group training classes, or visits dog parks and/or the groomer, we recommend the canine influenza vaccination for your dog.
 
Here are a few quick facts about canine influenza:
·        Because canine influenza is a relatively new virus (first identified in Florida in 2004), dogs have no natural immunity, making all breeds and ages susceptible to becoming sick from it.
·        As of November 14, 2010, Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center had reported 51 cases of canine influenza in Connecticut, 30 cases in Massachusetts, 208 cases in New Jersey, and 296 cases in New York. Today's society is very mobile, with people easily traveling between states, and dogs being shipped across the country and all along the East Coast. Therefore, the risk of this virus spreading is very real, as evidenced by a recent outbreak in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
·        The virus can be spread easily. Transmission can occur through direct contact with an infected dog, through a dog's sneezing or coughing, or contaminated surfaces, such as one person petting an infected dog and then touching your dog.
·        Signs of infection can be similar to “kennel cough” and can range from a persistent cough, runny nose, watery eyes, loss of appetite, and lethargy to severe illness, such as pneumonia or even death.
·        Unlike human influenza, canine influenza is not seasonal. Dogs can contract canine influenza year-round.
·        Humans cannot become ill from the canine influenza virus.
The following websites also provide excellent information about this disease: www.doginfluenza.com   and www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/canine_bgnd.asp.
 
If you wish to protect your dog against canine influenza, please contact our office at (860) 645-1700. Initially, a series of two vaccinations is given 2-4 weeks apart, and then a single booster would be administered annually. In some cases, the first vaccination for influenza can be integrated with your pet's annual visit. Alternately, if your pet is current on his or her annual exam, the vaccination series can be started without an additional exam fee, as long as there are no new additional concerns or chronic conditions that need to be addressed. 
 
As always, we strive to provide high quality medical care and work hard to provide you with the best medical recommendations for your pet. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about canine influenza or the vaccination for this illness.