What Dog Owners Need To Know About Canine Influenza

Pet Vaccine Needle

  • Canine Influenza (or "Dog Flu") is similar to other flu viruses, but Only Dogs can get it
  • Clinical signs typically show up 2-5 days after exposure
  • Since we are a veterinary hospital, we do see sick patients who could potentially be carrying the flu or other illnesses

Who Can Get Canine Influenza?

  • Puppies and dogs in daycare, boarding kennels, play groups, in group training class, or going to the dog park or dog shows (especially recently in Essex County) can come down with the flu

What Should I Look For?

  • Monitor your dog carefully for coughing, discharge from the eye or nose (especially yellow or green), fever, breathing heavily/rapidly, low energy, and poor appetite
  • Most symptoms are mild and will clear on their own
  • Antibiotics are only used if we suspect a secondary bacterial infection (antibiotics do not treat viruses)
  • In more severe cases, your dog may require hospitalization with intravenous fluids and supportive care

What About the Canine Influenza Vaccine?

  • The Canine Influenza vaccine does NOT prevent the flu — it can reduce the length and severity of sickness and minimizes complications (pneumonia)

Who Should Receive Dog Flu Vaccine?

  • We do not routinely recommend this vaccine for every patient, but it is recommended for those at risk (listed above, 6 weeks and older)
  • 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart, then booster annually

If you have additional questions about how to protect your pet or if you suspect your dog may have the flu, please call us at (617) 484-1555!