There has been a lot of buzz in the media recently about canine influenza virus, or CIV for short. This is a highly contagious respiratory virus not too unlike the human influenza viruses. You might recall back in 2015 there was an outbreak of flu in dogs primarily around the Chicago area. This was, at the time, a new strain of the virus to our country. Work was done to develop a vaccine that would protect against that strain, which became available later in 2015. That year we vaccinated several dogs that we considered to be at higher risk due to participation in boarding, grooming, or additional activities in close proximity to other dogs. The CIV vaccine has proven to be safe, but not 100% effective in preventing disease altogether. Since the 2015 outbreak, canine flu has quieted down, and cases have been few and far between. We have kept our ears and eyes peeled for information that would suggest that dogs in our neck of the woods would be at risk for exposure.
This year there has been a slight uptick in cases reported particularly from the Southern part of the U.S. Reported cases have been the same strain as the Chicago outbreak and as close to us as Louisville, KY. We share this with you, not to scare you, but to make you aware. If your dog spends a lot of time in facilities with other dogs from varying locations, or if you travel to other parts of the country with your dog, it is worthwhile consulting us about CIV vaccination. In addition, we need to pay close attention to infectious disease trends with the possibility of pets becoming relocated due to the hurricane and weather events in Texas. If you or your family intend to help foster animals from a different part of the U.S., this is also a situation where we would recommend you consult us about protecting your dogs from CIV by vaccinating them.
As your veterinarian we are responsible for helping you weigh the risks verses benefits to each vaccine and preventive measure that can be provided to your pets. We are watching trends closely. Please check back often for updates, and don't ever hesitate to consult us about our recommendations. Below are 2 links with current and helpful information about CIV in the U.S.
Current prevalence map of CIV cases in the U.S.
Note: The map at the top of the page shows cases in the last 45 days. The bottom map shows cases since 2015
Commonly asked questions regarding CIV