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The Canine Influenza Vaccine and the 2015 H3N2 Outbreak
A Quick History
For many pet owners in Chicago, the H3N2 strain of the flu is a scary reality. It came to the United States from Southern China and Korea after mutating from a strictly avian flu to having the ability to affect dogs. It now has the ability to be transmitted from dog to dog, making it even more dangerous. Understanding this disease is important if your a dog owner, especially considering this vaccine isn't for every dog.
Symptoms, Transmission, and Treatment
Symptoms include coughing, lethargy, fever, and other common flu-like symptoms. Transmission occurs through close contact between a healthy and an infected dog. This includes situations such as dog training and boarding facilities. Treatment is typically done with antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian, assuming it's not a very severe case. A more severe case may require hospitalization, fluids, etc.
So I should get the vaccine, right?
What's Wrong with the Vaccine?
The vaccine is made for the H3N8 strain of the flu, which originated as an all equine flu that became transmissible to dogs and between dogs.
Then why are so many boarding/training facilities requiring the vaccine?
It's all about insurance, people. If a non-vaccinated dog were to stay at a boarding facility and get the Asian strain of the flu, the facility would be liable despite the fact that the vaccine is for the wrong strain. No business owner wants to deal with that mess.
So what do I do if I want to board my dog or take my pup to training classes?
Just suck it up and get the vaccine. Rules are rules. When you own the boarding/training facility, then you can make the rules.