Dog flu (also called canine influenza virus or CIV) is currently active in 11 states. While veterinarians may have varying opinions on which dogs should be vaccinated, here are five undeniable dog flu facts, confirmed by Dr. Marikay Campbell of Port Royal, South Carolina:
- The H3N2 strain of dog flu arrived in the U.S. in the Chicago area in 2015 from Southeast Asia. No one knows specifically how that occurred, but the virus strain is novel to the U.S., so dogs have no built-in antibodies. Once exposed, nearly all dogs get the virus.
- Though the virus will hit any (unvaccinated) dog that is exposed, around 80 percent get ill (a handful of those seriously ill, and some die), and about 20 percent are asymptomatic, but are still contagious. Their owners have no idea their dog, who is acting totally normal, is spreading the virus.
- The vaccine is defined as a killed-vaccine, so it’s impossible for dogs to get flu from the vaccine.
- The vaccine, being a killed vaccine, has a particularly low number of side effects.
- For the vaccine to be effective, a booster is required two to four weeks after the initial shot.