- The Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) that causes dog flu, Influenza Type A (H3N8), cannot be transmitted from dogs to people.
- It primarily infects the respiratory system and is extremely contagious.
- A vaccine was granted full license by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2009 (Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8).
- This vaccine does not prevent the canine flu. It is alleged it lessens its symptoms only.
- Merck says it has no side effects, but they mean IMMEDIATE side effects. Side effects could show up months or years into the future, as with other vaccines.
- It's best to keep your dog isolated from areas visited by other dogs.
- Some dogs can be exposed to the virus and fight off infection without showing clinical signs.
- Mild symptoms include a cough.
- Severe symptoms could be fever, trouble breathing, and pneumonia
- The CIV may have been passed from horses to dogs a few years ago.
- One strain of CIV may sicken cats
- See articles critical of this vaccine and other pet vaccines, and read about natural alternatives.
- All this material is given as information only. Pet owners must make up their own minds.
- This blog is strongly supportive of feeding pets human food to keep their immune systems strong, and their digestive systems healthy. Check the web for recipes. Cats can get excellent (and inexpensive) nutrition from sardines in water, and cat grass as a snack.
Canine flu outbreak sickens
hundreds of dogs in the Midwest
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A canine flu outbreak has sickened many dogs in the Midwest, and veterinarians are cautioning pet owners to keep their dogs from going nose-to-nose with other four-legged friends.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine says the virus has sickened at least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Recent tests from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have identified the strain as H3N2.
Clinical assistant professor Keith Poulsen says it’s not yet known how effective current vaccines are against this strain, which is believed to have come from Asia.
He said an older strain, H3N8, has also been detected in the region.
Both viruses can cause persistent cough, runny nose and fever in dogs. Experts say a small percentage will develop more severe symptoms. The H3N2 infection has been associated with some deaths.
Poulsen said pet owners with sick dogs should call a veterinarian to schedule a test outside the veterinary clinic and should not bring dogs into areas where they could interact with other dogs.
“It’s really no different if you’re talking about dogs or toddlers, if you think they’re sick, don’t bring them to day care,” Poulsen said.
Veterinarians say neither canine strain is related to bird flu or is contagious to humans, but the H3N2 strain could sicken cats.
Renee Brantner Shanesy, who owns the Ruffin’ It Resort in Madison, said the kennel required immunizations against H3N8 for all dogs boarded there late last week. Shanesy said she’s now recommending, not requiring, the vaccination after veterinarians said it won’t protect against H3N2.
“The philosophy we’re taking is, just like the human flu, everyone has to take the precaution for himself,” she said.
Shanesy said she hasn’t seen panic among dog owners, but the kennel is increasing its sanitizing practices. She said she had her two dogs vaccinated and she has cut out trips to the dog park to reduce the risk of exposure.
“Like any other pet owner right now, I’m not 100 percent comfortable,” Shanesy said. “Anything I can do to give them a better chance of immunity, I’m in.”
Sarah Duchemin, who works at The Dog Den in Madison, said the kennel has been monitoring its dogs for symptoms, and that if a dog shows up with a runny nose or is sneezing, the animal would be isolated and sent home. She said the kennel hasn’t had a dog show any flu symptoms yet, but it cleans its floors and cages every day to prevent the spread of disease.
Luanne Moede, owner of the First Class Pet Lodge in Wausau, told the Wausau Daily Herald that clients are being asked if dogs have traveled out of state. Moede also said she’s informing pet owners about the disease.
In Illinois, vets say the cases are slowing but are still coming in. Chicago resident Jennifer Roche’s mixed-breed dog, Roxy-Rocket, is recovering after coming down with canine flu while boarded at Tucker Pup’s Dog Activity Center last week while the family was away during spring break.
Roche knew she was taking a risk by boarding the family pet during the outbreak, but she feels the facility handled it well when the dog began to cough.
“They got her to the vet right away and she was on antibiotics right away,” Roche said. “It feels a lot like when my kids get the flu. … I’m going to be watching her very closely when the antibiotics run out.”
PetMD information on Canine Influenza
The virus that causes dog flu, Influenza Type A (H3N8), was first identified in Florida in 2004.
It primarily infects the respiratory system and is extremely contagious.
A vaccine was granted full license by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2009 (Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8).
Some dogs can be exposed to the virus and fight off infection without showing clinical signs.
Symptoms and Types
Dogs that are infected with the canine influenza virus may develop two different syndromes:
- Mild – These dogs will have a cough that is typically moist and can have nasal discharge. Occasionally, it will be more of a dry cough. In most cases, the symptoms will last 10 to 30 days and usually will go away on its own.
- Severe – Generally, these dogs have a high fever (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and develop signs very quickly. Pneumonia, specifically hemorrhagic pneumonia, can develop. The influenza virus affects the capillaries in the lungs, so the dog may cough up blood and have trouble breathing if there is bleeding into the alveoli (air sacs). Patients may also be infected with bacterial pneumonia, which can further complicate the situation.
General signs of these syndromes include:
Red and/or runny eyes and runny nose may be seen in some dogs. In most cases, there is a history of contact with other dogs that carried the virus.
Besides a physical, the veterinarian will want to perform a complete blood count and clinical chemistry on the dog. Usually, increases are seen in the white blood cells, specifically the neutrophils, a white blood cell that is destructive to microorganisms. X-rays (radiographs) can be taken of the dog's lungs to characterize the type of pneumonia.
Another diagnostic tool called a bronchoscope can be used to see the trachea and larger bronchi. Cell samples can also be collected by conducting a bronchial wash or a bronchoalveolar lavage. These samples will typically have large amounts of neutrophils and may contain bacteria.
Detecting the virus itself is very difficult and is usually not recommended. There is a blood (serological) test that can support a canine influenza diagnosis. In most cases, a blood sample is taken after initial symptoms develop and then again two to three weeks later.
Your Dog Can - and Should -
Do Without a Flu Vaccine
By Dr. Karen Becker,
Healthy Pets - Mercola.com
One of my colleagues here at Mercola.com forwarded an article to me recently from an online news site. The title is “Dogs Also Need to Get Flu Vaccine.” The article is full of misinformation, which is truly disturbing given the serious subject matter.
First the writer claims sick dogs and cats look similar to sick people. This is just silliness. Does your pet look like you when she’s well? Of course not, so how is it she’ll look like you when she’s sick?
The writer goes on to say that if your pet is sluggish, not eating, or is behaving abnormally, he could be sick (true), and to prevent that from happening, he needs a flu shot (not true and a terribly misguided piece of advice).
No, Your Pet Does NOT Need a Flu Vaccine
The writer next states, “There is a flu vaccine for dogs, among all the other vaccines you should get for your pets. It will not only keep your dog healthy, but other dogs he or she comes in contact with as well.”
She seems to be advocating not only for the canine influenza virus (CIV) vaccine, but also for every other dog vaccine available. This is in my opinion irresponsible and potentially dangerous advice.
As for the CIV vaccine, it does NOT prevent infection. It reduces viral shedding once infection is present, and it may lessen the severity of symptoms and their duration. But it does not keep your dog from acquiring the influenza virus.
Interestingly, the writer uses as her expert a supervisor at a local animal shelter. Shelters – especially overcrowded ones – along with boarding and racing dog kennels, are the types of facilities where most outbreaks of CIV occur.
However, it's unlikely your family dog will be in a situation to contract CIV. Even if she does, chances are she'll recover uneventfully and without medical intervention thanks to her healthy immune system. It’s also important to know that canine influenza can’t be spread from dogs to people.
There is an implied threat in the article that if your indoor pet gets outdoors somehow and winds up at a shelter, she’s sure to acquire the flu. This is a huge stretch in every direction.
The article ends by pointing out that the area (around Lubbock, TX) hasn’t seen an outbreak of canine influenza virus in years!
Why I Never Recommend the Canine Flu Vaccine
The CIV vaccine is a non-core vaccine (canine core vaccines are for protection against distemper, parvo, adenovirus and rabies), and as regular readers here at Mercola Healthy Pets know, I recommend a very conservative approach with the cores, and I almost never recommend the non-cores for any pet. You can find my vaccine recommendations here toward the end of the article, along with Dr. Ronald Shultz’s.
Too many vaccines, in particular non-core vaccines like the one for CIV, can seriously compromise your pet's immune system, affecting its ability to protect your dog naturally from pathogens like the influenza virus. In addition, non-core vaccines have proved to be less safe in terms of adverse reactions than core vaccines.
How to Help Your Dog Remain Flu-Free
As I mentioned earlier, it’s uncommon for a family dog to acquire CIV simply because he typically will not find himself in overcrowded conditions with lots of other dogs.
But if your pet should be exposed to the virus, as long as his immune system is healthy, he’ll either be asymptomatic (show no symptoms), or he’ll recover quickly without medical care.
SourceTo keep your pet’s immune system in flu-fighting condition:
- Feed a balanced, species-appropriate diet.
- Avoid unnecessary vaccinations and overuse of veterinary drugs and chemical parasite and pest preventives.
- Reduce the environmental toxins your dog is exposed to, which will in turn lesson his toxic burden and biological stress.
- Talk to your holistic vet about natural immune boosters like turmeric, oregano and fresh garlic, as well as useful herbs and diffusing virus-fighting essential oils to support the immune system.
The following article is from the alternative website Vaccine Liberation Army:
Where did the canine influence virus originate from?
From Merck Canine influenza (Dog Flu) is an important illness that poses an emerging threat to all dogs. Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8 vaccine:
Contains gentamicin and amphotericin B as preservatives.
1) Gentamicin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic, used to treat many types of bacterial infections, particularly those caused by Gram-negative organisms. Gentamicin is also ototoxic and nephrotoxic, with this toxicity remaining a major problem in clinical use.
2) Amphotericin B is a polyene antifungal drug. Amphotericin B is well known for its severe and potentially lethal side-effects
2) The Adjuvant used inH3N8 vaccine is Aluminum based.
Comment by VLA editor: Why doesn’t this canine flu shot have mercury like human flu shots? Are anti biotics and antifungals really preservatives?
This strain is said to have been transferred from horses to dogs. I wonder how that happened? I remember the strange deaths of a group of grey hounds. Sounded to me at the time that they all must have been victims of some experiment. Will we ever find out?
And here is the spin from the CDC: How long has canine influenza been around?
The H3N8 equine influenza virus has been known to exist in horses for more than 40 years.
In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus.
Scientists believe that this virus jumped species, from horses to dogs. And how did that happen in the greyhound dog stable? It has now adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread efficiently among dogs.
This is now considered a new dog-specific lineage of H3N8.
In September of 2005, this virus was identified by experts as “a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.
In September of 2005, this virus was identified by experts as “a newly emerging pathogen in the dog population” in the United States.
Interesting article on the risks of pet vaccines
And on mandatory human vaccines
THE MOVEMENT FOR GOVERNMENT-ENFORCED VACCINATIONS UNITES RIGHT AND LEFT - An underlying hankering for tyranny in America? - Does the State own your body? - The DANGERS OF VACCINES