Dogs should be vaccinated for canine influenza - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Dogs should be vaccinated for canine influenza

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

• What is Canine Influenza? A strain of the influenza A virus known as H3N8, a highly contagious "flu" that is able to cause respiratory illness in dogs. Canine influenza only affects dogs. Humans are not at risk of contracting it.

• How serious is canine influenza? It can be very serious! Not only is it highly contagious, but virtually all dogs are at risk. Cases have been reported in 38 states, including Texas.

• What are the signs of canine influenza? The most common sign is a persistent cough, which makes it very hard to initially diagnose (due to its similarity to what is commonly referred to as kennel cough). In mild cases, signs can include a low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and a cough that can last for up to a month. In more severe cases, a high grade fever and pneumonia can develop.

• Is your dog at risk? Did it come from a shelter, rescue center, breeder, or pet store? Do you board your pet at a kennel or go to doggie daycare? Attend group dog training? Visit a grooming facility or dog parks? Enter or attend dog events? Come into contact with other dogs in the waiting room during visits to the vet? If so, your pet may be at risk.

• How is it spread? The same way as human flu: direct contact (touching noses, sharing water bowls & toys), through the air (sneezing & coughing), and via contaminated surfaces.

• How to protect your dog against canine influenza: There is a vaccine to help protect your dog. The initial vaccine requires 2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart, followed by annual revaccination. If your dog is currently vaccinated for kennel cough (bordetella), it is a likely candidate for the canine influenza vaccine.

• The Houston Humane Society offers the canine influenza vaccine at our low cost Wellness Center. And we feel it is so important that we also vaccinate all of our adoptables upon arrival at the shelter. For more information about canine influenza, please visit the Houston Humane Society's Animal Wellness Center.

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