Urgent: Canine Influenza Virus Outbreak – April 2023 in St. Paul, MN

Canine influenza virus (CIV) is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs. It spreads easily from one dog to another, especially in places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks, kennels, and animal shelters.

Recently, there has been an outbreak of the virus among dogs at local shelters in the Twin Cities – read more about this here. In this article, we will discuss what canine influenza is, how it spreads, and why vaccination is crucial in protecting your furry friend from this disease.

canine influenza st paul mnWhat is Canine Influenza?

Canine influenza is a virus that causes respiratory infection in dogs. It can be caused by two different strains of the virus, H3N8 and H3N2. The symptoms of the disease are similar to those of human flu, including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia, which can be life-threatening for dogs.

How Does Canine Influenza Spread?

Canine influenza is highly contagious and spreads easily from dog to dog through respiratory secretions, such as coughing and sneezing. The virus can also be spread indirectly through contaminated objects, such as food and water bowls, toys, and grooming equipment. Dogs that are in close contact with other dogs, such as those in kennels, shelters, and dog parks, are at higher risk of contracting the virus.

Why Is Vaccination Important?

Vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from canine influenza. The vaccine can help prevent your dog from getting infected or reduce the severity of the disease if your dog does get infected. The vaccine is typically given in two doses, two to four weeks apart, and then annually thereafter.

In the case of an outbreak, like the one we are currently facing, it is particularly important to ensure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations. This can help prevent the spread of the disease and protect your dog from getting infected.

If you have a puppy, older dog, or a dog with a weakened immune system, vaccination is especially important. These dogs are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms if they contract the virus.

Other Preventative Measures

In addition to vaccination, there are other steps you can take to protect your dog from canine influenza. These include:

  • Avoiding areas where dogs congregate, such as dog parks and kennels, during outbreaks
  • Washing your hands and changing your clothes after coming into contact with dogs that may be infected
  • Cleaning and disinfecting your dog’s toys, food and water bowls, and grooming equipment regularly
  • Keeping your dog away from sick dogs and avoiding contact with dogs that show symptoms of respiratory illness

Please contact us to get your pup the CIV vaccine so they can be protected  or if you have any questions at all about canine influenza!