2013 Canine Flu Outbreak

As of March 2013, there is currently an outbreak of Canine influenza virus (CIV), commonly known as Canine Flu, in Essex County and surrounding areas. At Essex Animal Hospital, we have seen many cases of Canine Flu in previous outbreaks. Although all of our cases survived, it can be a life-threatening illness in some dogs.

The New Jersey Department of Health has issued the following alert:

"The NJDOH has received 3 reports of suspected Canine influenza virus (CIV) outbreaks in animal shelters and boarding kennels in Essex, Hudson, and Morris Counties. Veterinarians and operators of licensed animal facilities (kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds) are asked to be on the alert for this disease and prepared to respond in the event they identify a case or an outbreak.

CIV was first recognized in racing greyhounds in Florida in January 2004 and has since been documented in 30 states, including New Jersey. This highly contagious virus causes a clinical syndrome in dogs that mimics 'kennel cough.' If the virus enters a kennel setting, virtually 100 percent of exposed dogs become infected and nearly 80 percent develop clinical signs. Although most dogs will have a milder form of CIV and recover without complications, some may develop severe pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT CIV CAN BE TRANSMITTED FROM DOGS TO HUMANS."

At Essex Animal Hospital, we routinely vaccinate against CIV. An initial vaccine is given, followed by a booster vaccine approxmiately 3 weeeks later. The vaccine is then boostered once a year. We require the vaccination for all dogs who wish to board at our facility. Since the virus is spread in the air, dogs do not even need to be in physical contact with other infected dogs. Just being in the same general area is enough to contract the virus. In addition, an infected dog can transmit the virus even before it shows clinical signs. This means that your dog can catch the virus from another dog that seems perfectly healthy. For this reason, we recommend that ANY dog that is in a public area (including just up and down the sidewalk) should be vaccinated against CIV.

If you have any questions about Canine Flu and the CIV vaccine, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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