Veterinarians encourage dog flu vaccine

The dog flu virus is infecting canines across the nation. There is a vaccine to help prevent it. Since the strand surfaced in 2004, thousands of dogs have been diagnosed with canine influenza. It’s happened in 38 states. The closest is San Antonio, Texas; and local veterinarian of more than 20 years, Dr. Rodney Robards says he’s seen a few unconfirmed cases this year.

“We’ve seen a lab that potentially could have had influenza,” says Dr. Robards. “We took X-rays and saw pneumonia in his lungs.”

Dr. Robards says the vaccine is mostly preventative but the dog could still catch the flu, especially if the strand changes. The dogs that are at higher risk are the ones who play with other dogs all the time. Whether they are at the groomer, or dog parks, or being boarded while your family is on vacation, those are places where the flu is more commonly caught and spread from dog to dog. It’s spread through the air just like the human influenza virus.

“It acts like a common cold,” says Dr. Robards. “You typically hear kennel cough. It can start out like that then it develops into pneumonia. “They can get really, really sick even to the point of death. It can get it in their lungs.”

One of Dr. Robards’s patients, Estelle Aberson took her three-year-old Maltese, Bella in for her flu vaccination. She thought Bella might be more susceptible because she just had a painful knee surgery last week.

“It’s very nerve racking when your little puppy is going through something like that,” says Aberson

Check with your local veterinarian for more information on the vaccine to keep them safe this holiday season and all year long. Dr. Robards’s flu vaccine requires a booster shot thirty days after the initial vaccine and then a yearly follow-up booster.

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