A new disease is going to sweep through the dog population (like parvo did in the 1970’s) – CANINE INFLUENZA. The first strain developed from equine influenza and crossed to greyhounds housed at the same track several years ago. It has been popping up in areas around the country since. Two years ago, a new strain found its way from Korea to dogs in the midwest and an epidemic resulted. These diseases cause fever, coughing, inappetance, some digestive upsets (vomiting/diarrhea), and can progress to severe pneumonia. The US strain sheds from infected dogs incubating the disease before they show symptoms, during illness and 1-2 weeks post-illness; the Korean strain is more severe, causing symptoms requiring hospitalization more frequently, longer duration, and slower recovery. These dogs shed disease before, during and up to 3 weeks post-illness. A measurable percentage of infected, symptomatic dogs die or are euthanized due to the illness, pneumonia and related illnesses.
During March, dogs attending shows (especially in New Jersey) were exposed, incubated the virus (and shed in their home environments) and have become ill or died. Those recovering are likely still shedding infectious virus now in April.
There is a very effective vaccine available against both strains in the same product. It reduces the possibility of symptoms/illness, almost eliminates severe disease requiring hospitalization, and shortens the shedding period of active virus to other dogs. Your pet(s) need 2 doses, 3 weeks apart and an annual booster. Please get your pets protected!