If your dog has had the flu, it has some immunity, but most dogs in the U.S. haven’t been exposed. Although a vaccine is available, it’s controversial. It’s a relatively new vaccine, and Ronald Schultz, an expert in animal vaccines, says that the virus mutated because horses were over-vaccinated for it. Live viruses were modified and used to vaccinate horses at racetracks. In the grand evolutionary scheme of things, it didn’t take long for the influenza to jump to greyhounds, which shared the tracks with those horses. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, that’s how the canine flu developed into what it is today.
Mercola Healthy Pets interviewed Schultz, who described the important dog vaccinations. Canine core vaccinations include distemper, parvo, adenovirus, and rabies. The canine influenza vaccine is considered a non-core vaccination. If you want to protect your dog by vaccinating it, you need to administer separate vaccinations for H3N8 and H3N2, says Vet Specialty. That’s a lot of shots. The vaccination is not available in a nasal or topical form. Plus, it doesn’t necessarily prevent the illness. It is just confirmed to reduce the severity of symptoms.
You can keep your dog away from the flu by keeping it away from other canines. If you work with animals, change your clothes before you come home. Wash your hands, arms, and feet before coming into contact with your dog. I wouldn’t recommend vaccinating your pet unless it’s at a high risk of getting the disease.
High-risk dogs include:
Those with shortened noses and respiratory tracts, like Pugs and English Bulldogs.
Dogs that are often in close quarters with other canines, especially in states where the virus has been confirmed.
Puppies or elderly canines that are likely to be exposed to the flu.
The Bottom Line
If you’re like most pet owners whose dogs hang out inside their houses, don’t concern yourself with all the hype just yet. Although the news media makes canine influenza sound terrifying, it has remained relatively contained. Plus, there’s the issue of controversial new vaccines to worry about. Protect your pet by keeping it home as much as possible. If it does show signs of illness, definitely don’t bring him out and about. When it comes to your dog’s health, you can always consult with your own veterinarian. I just think that at this point, there’s no reason to freak out about a flu that has not really affected a large proportion of the pet population just yet.