To make matters worse, it was determined that the outbreak was caused by a strain of canine influenza not previously seen in the United States. This new strain, H3N2, was thought to have originated in Asia.
For the past decade, the only known canine influenza virus type was strain H3N8. This strain of influenza has been traveling around the United States and causing outbreaks of infection for many years.
The new H3N2 strain of influenza did make its way to Minnesota and confirmed cases were found in dogs residing in Detroit Lakes and St. Paul.
Up until recently, the only canine influenza vaccine that was available was for the H3N8 strain. Westgate Pet Clinic was previously recommending vaccinating dogs for H3N8, with the hopes that it would provide some protection against the H3N2 strain.
Westgate Pet Clinic now has the H3N2 strain of influenza vaccine available. This vaccine needs to be boostered 3 weeks after the initial vaccine, and then yearly after that.
Both H3N8 and H3N2 influenza viruses are present in the United States. Pet owners wishing to have their dog fully protected against canine influenza should begin the new H3N2 series, and continue the H3N8 vaccine. (Dogs that haven’t been vaccinated previously for H3N8 will also need a booster after the initial H3N8 vaccine).
It is important to know that the immediate threat of canine influenza has died down. However, like most disease outbreaks, it is impossible to know when or if another outbreak will occur. Dog owners that take their dogs to kennels, dog parks and other dog community activities should make an informed decision about whether or not they would like their dog vaccinated for the two strains of canine influenza.
The cost of the N3N2 is $30.62 ($61.24 total for the initial 2 vaccine series) and the cost of the N3N8 vaccine is $30.62 ($61.24 total for the initial 2 vaccine series).
If your dog has received any vaccine in the past 2 weeks, you must wait until at least 14 days after the last immunization to start a new immunization series.
The "Kennel Cough" vaccine does not vaccinate against Canine Influenza. (This vaccine targets the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica.) The parainfluenza vaccination included in the distemper combination vaccine is for a different disease and does not vaccinate against Canine Influenza.
For more information about transmission and symptoms of canine flu, follow this link provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/public/
If you would like to make an appointment to get your dog vaccinated with the Canine Influenza vaccine, please call Westgate Pet Clinic at 612-925-1121. The canine influenza vaccine may be given with other vaccines at your doctor's discretion.