A letter from Dr. Frazier
June 7, 2017
Dear Dog Parents:
You may have heard on the news that there is a recent outbreak of canine influenza. Canine Influenza (H3N2) has now officially been confirmed in the Knoxville area. We are seeing the virus spread rapidly throughout the South. This virus is highly contagious from one dog to another in the air and by direct contact. The virus survives on clothes, grass, and other surfaces up to 48 hours. So a dog can be exposed just by being in an area where an infected dog has been.
This disease is much more serious than the typical “kennel cough”. The virus can cause pneumonia, lung damage and sometimes death. Older dogs or dogs with health problems may be the most severely affected and have the highest death rate. Many dogs may have mild or no symptoms, but can transmit the virus for up to a month.
There is a vaccine against this virus! However, there are two strains of the virus (H3N8/H3N2) and the previous vaccine that we have used only protects against one strain (H3N8). The present outbreak is from the new strain of virus (H3N2), so even if your dog has been vaccinated, it will not be protected against this form of influenza. Neither of the vaccines will protect your dog 100% but should reduce the severity of the virus and the duration of illness.
Is your dog at risk?
Because this is still an emerging disease and dogs in the U.S. have not been exposed to it before, almost all dogs, regardless of breed or age, lack immunity to it and are susceptible to infection if exposed to the active virus. Virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and nearly 80% show clinical signs of disease.
We are urgently asking dog owners to vaccinate for Canine Influenza if your dog is at risk.
If you are grooming or boarding your dog this summer, call ahead and see if the vaccination requirements have changed or if there are any problems at that facility. ***Effective immediately all dogs that are groomed or boarded within our facility must be vaccinated for the Canine Influenza virus (H3N2).***
How do I vaccinate my dog?
Northshore Animal Hospital has the vaccines available immediately! This vaccination does require a booster in 2-4 weeks. Each vaccination cost is $45 (initial $45, booster $45). Vaccinations are available to any dogs in our community.
Vaccination is available at Northshore Animal Hospital without an appointment Monday-Thursday 5:00-6:00 or call for an appointment. We ask that you not bring the dog into the hospital if known exposure, please call from the parking lot and we will come to the car.
Please feel free to call us with questions.
Denise Frazier, DVM
Northshore Animal Hospital