The first known strain of canine flu, H3N8 (also identified in Asia), was recognized at a greyhound race track in Florida back in 2004.
The other variety of dog influenza is the more recent H3N2 that has been showing up as recently as this year.
At least one expert believes the H3N2 virus may have migrated to America from Asia via dogs rescued by American citizens, which is how it spread in Chicago when a facility there experienced an outbreak. The worst pandemic seen since the 1980s, this new strain of influenza has been recognized as posing more dangers than many other illnesses.
Since then, the virus has spread like wildfire and is now found in every corner of the country.
The cost of the canine influenza vaccine
According to our research, the cost of a canine influenza vaccine ranges from $20-$55 anywhere across the US. This cost will only cover the vaccines for both strains, so you might have to pay additional fees, depending on the vet office policy, like a consultation fee, which may be about $35-$65. This will bring your total to anywhere between $55-$120.
According to the veterinary list of vaccinations on petcarerx.com, just one vaccine comes at a cost of around $20-$30 each time it is administered. The North Shore Animal Hospital in Tennessee told us that for initial vaccination and a booster shot both come out with about $45 – totaling $90.
As per The New York Times, the injections are said to be quite costly, ranging between $25-$35 apiece with most dogs needing 2 shots for adequate coverage.
Should dog owners worry about the flu?
Dogs can transmit the influenza virus to each other through various means. Sneezing, coughing and barking are just a few of them! The flu virus may last for up to 48 hours on objects such as toys or leashes that dogs come into contact with. Dogs can catch this type of cold from places crowded with other dogs, like boarding kennels. For many people, a flu fight seems like an impossible challenge. The virus can live for up to 24 hours on clothing and up to 12 hours on human hands. All dogs are at risk of exposure; in fact dogs within confined spaces such as boarding facilities or shelters may be more high-risk than others.
Should your dog get the vaccine?
Dr. Sanders, a veterinarian from Utah, points out that the likelihood of contracting CIV depends on your dog’s current situation. The virus is closely associated with shelters and other dog facilities but not with a natural setting like families. These are usually safe, as your dog will most likely not come in contact with a lot of dogs, especially in confined spaces.
It’s true that your dog could contract the virus as a “family” dog, but you should know in most cases this is not life-threatening. The vaccine may just lessen how bad it gets and for how long.
Dog flu symptoms
Dogs can start to show flu symptoms about 48-72 hours after they contracted the virus. Usual symptoms include a cough, which is often soft and moist with hacking sounds. This usually lasts between 12-24 hrs followed by discharge coming from either their nose or their eyes for up to 3 days before getting better or worse. Puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable to a severe reaction than healthy breeds. Additional symptoms can include decreased appetite, fever, or trouble exercising.
As coughs can be related to different respiratory infections, a veterinarian will run tests and make recommendations depending on the outcome. If your dog has been coughing for more than 21 days then it may need quarantine. The dog might also need other treatments like antibiotics for the common types of bacteria. Maintaining hydration levels and anti-inflammatory medicines should also be used in order to reduce fever as well as ease any pain they might have while their body fights against this illness.
Important tips to remember
When considering a boarding facility for your dog, you need to make sure the staff is trained in preventing cross-contamination and that they know how to properly clean. To help ensure this is happening, be sure all of the dogs inside have been vaccinated before being accepted into their care.
Most veterinarians do not have the flu vaccine stocked year-round, so give them a call ahead of time to make sure they will be able to order it for you. An important factor to remember is that the vaccination cannot prevent the illness but instead can help reduce its severity and duration.
As with any medical concern, always talk to your vet about it. They will be able to tell you the benefits and risks associated with any treatment as well as if they recommend it or not.