The canine influenza (dog flu) virus mutated from the horse flu virus around 2004 and initially affected racing greyhounds.
Although there have been only a few suspected cases in the pet dog population in Houston, the flu virus was suspected of causing an outbreak of respiratory infections at the Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque in April 2012 and there was an outbreak at a boarding facility in San Antonio in September 2011. The virus causes a dry non-productive cough, and sometimes lethargy, decreased appetite, and fever. In rare cases, it can cause pneumonia. Due to the lack of immunity in most dogs, infection usually spread rapidly between dogs kept in close contact. Unfortunately, testing is best done before a dog starts coughing since the virus rapidly disappears from the body.
Dogs that should receive the influenza vaccine include those dogs that come into contact with other dogs through boarding, grooming, at dog parks, or by traveling to dog shows or flyball or agility competitions. Some Houston boarding kennels are requiring the flu vaccine so make sure to check with your boarding facility to see what their requirements are. Your dog can be protected with 2 doses given 3 weeks apart and then an annual booster vaccine.
Give us a call at 713-774-9731 to schedule an appointment for your dog's flu shot!