Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) is dealing with an outbreak of dog flu. Dog flu at an animal shelter or animal control facility is a nightmare. Until it is discovered, it spreads relentlessly among the shelter population, and then spreads into the community as dogs are adopted.
LMAS says at least four of its shelter dogs have tested positive for the H3N2 canine influenza virus. The shelter is waiting for the results of other tests, though sources suggest many of the shelter dogs are sick. It’s not a surprise, considering how many dogs are sick with the flu in the greater Louisville, Kentucky, area.
The shelter began vaccinating all of its shelter dogs for both strains (H3N2 and H3N8) of the dog flu on June 20. However, this smart move turned out to be too little too late. It’s important to understand that the vaccine requires an initial shot, and then a booster three weeks later. It isn’t until a few days after that booster that dogs are protected to the full extent of the vaccine.
LMAS encourages dog owners to vaccinate. Definitely, also consider the vaccine if you are intending to board your dog in daycare or as your are about to travel.
Louisville is hardly the only state to see dog flu.
Thousands of dogs have suffered from the H3N2 virus since it arrived in 2015 from southeast Asia. While around 95 percent of dogs survive the illness, about five percent do not. Hundreds of dogs have succumbed to flu since 2015. Vaccination is the best protection.