Does Your Dog Need A Canine Flu Vaccine?

Thursday, September 24th 2009, 7:55 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There is another type of flu making its way towards Oklahoma, and this one could affect your pets, especially your dog.

It's called canine flu, and Oklahoma vets say there was a confirmed case in Oklahoma this week.

Veterinarians stress that canine flu is rarely fatal but recommend that dog owners keep an eye out for it.

Tali the Husky was brought to the Woodland West Animal Hospital for a standard check-up, but her owner also requested a relatively new vaccination.

"That's all there is to it," said Dr. Mike Jones of Woodland West Animal Hospital.

Dr. Jones says more dog lovers are taking precautions against the Canine flu.

He says the vaccination is safe, effective, and becoming increasingly necessary.

"Right now we do have a lot of clients who are wanting to vaccinate now and be protected if it does come," Jones said.

The canine flu was first found in Florida six years ago. It mutated from the Equine Flu, which affects horses. Since then, it has spread throughout the U.S.

"It's in Arkansas; it's in Texas, Colorado, so we're right in the center," Jones said. "So I think it's just a matter of time before it does come here."

The Canine flu affects dogs much the same way the common flu does humans. Symptoms include high fever, muscle pain, sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. Only about 6% of cases are fatal, but the flu is easily spread among active dogs.

Vets say unless your dogs often interact with other dogs, then as far as the flu goes, there's not much to worry about.

"If your dog is completely a homebody and never around any other dogs, he's definitely going to be very low risk," said Dr. Mike Jones of the Woodland West Animal Hospital.

Jones says the canine flu is no reason to keep your dog from playing with other dogs, but if he does display symptoms, you should take the proper steps.

He also recommends talking with your vet before deciding whether your dog should be vaccinated for canine flu.