Talking Dog Flu


Dog flu (canine influenza virus or CIV) is sporadically happening around the country. Maybe your veterinarian is hearing about it in the community where you live, and maybe not. But, that doesn’t mean in a day or two it won’t arrive.

As dogs travel, they can carry the flu bug with them. And, this most recent strain of dog flu (H3N2) is particularly virulent. It can even be transmitted from one dog to another via our clothing or certainly our hands (if we don’t wash). And, it’s hard to know which dogs are contagious since around 20 percent of dogs with the flu virus show no symptoms, so their people have no way to know their dog is transmitting flu to other dogs.

Vaccine is the most efficient and obvious way to protect your dog, but it’s important to plan in advance. After an initial shot, a booster is required about three weeks later. So, if you are planning on taking Fido on a road trip, or you plan on boarding him, now is the time.

It’s true that most dogs—after feeling awful for several days or weeks (and keeping the family up all night coughing)—recover. However, some dogs get so sick they require hospitalization (and that’s a lot more expensive than a vaccine), and some of those dogs die, around three to five percent. A small percentage, sure. But that’s hundreds of dogs that have died of flu, since thousands of dogs have been sickened. And what if that dog is your dog?