By Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM
So this has been reported in the Wall Street Journal, as well as in various local media:
“Active outbreaks of highly contagious canine influenza have been reported in New York and New Jersey in recent months. The virus also has been detected in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado and Texas and is being investigated in California, according to Merck & Co., which makes a dog flu vaccine.”
This ‘new’ dog flu virus first appeared in 2004 in greyhounds, and it is believed that it resulted from a horse flu virus that mutated.
Canine Flu Symptoms
Similar to flu in people.
Fever, cough, nasal discharge, lethargy, decreased appetite, weakness, joint pain/discomfort, and in some cases difficulty breathing.
Over 95% of dogs have no secondary effects, and recover within 7 days as their immune system rids the virus.
A SMALL percent can have secondary bacterial lung infections (pneumonia)- in VERY serious cases a dog could die.
Transmission is through coughing, secretions, and close contact with infected dogs.
WHAT should you do?
Well you are likely NOT surprised that at couple of the major vaccine companies have made a vaccine for this. And what do they advise?
But there are concerns with the vaccine, and even the AVMA does not advise giving it as a core vaccine…
In fact most veterinarians are only advising the vaccine for very high risk dogs- those around many other dogs in close quarters, such as boarding or doggy day care.
Is there EVEN an outbreak?
There have been a small number of cases, but there is no central reporting body.
And none of the major veterinary associations are suggesting there is a dramatic increase.
IN fact the ‘increased awareness’ comes from the News Release referencing the website doginfluenza.com- this just so happens to be sponsored by Merk, which makes a vaccine for canine influenza.
Bad NEWS sells drugs
So in summary here:
A Drug company which manufactures a vaccine releases news claiming there is a ‘MARKED’ increase in cases of canine influenza.
News media run the story giving it credibility.
Pet owners get concerned and ask for their dogs to be protected.
Veterinarians vaccinate these dogs- whether they need it or not.
Seems somewhat unscrupulous to me.
My suggestions are to not vaccinate your dog for Dog Flu.
Keep their immune systems strong so they can fight off disease in the first place.
Consider probiotics, essential fatty acids, colostrum, and immune supportive mushrooms.
Visit http://budurl.com/dogsupplement for more details.