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Canine Influenza Virus

For information regarding the Canine Influenza Virus that has spread to South Carolina, please view read the letter below provided by our very own Dr. Maggie!

July 15, 2015

Dear Milestone Family:

I have an important health alert as well as important information to share about canine influenza. You may be familiar with the first strain of canine influenza (H3N8) that has been in the media since 2004. This strain crossed over from horses to greyhounds in Florida and then spread along racing and show circuits. There is a vaccination against this virus that we have recommended for dogs in high risk areas.

Some of you may know that a new strain of canine flu (H3N2) emerged in the Chicago area in March of this year. This flu is from birds and entered this country in an infected dog brought into the US by someone as a rescue. This has led to an outbreak of canine flu in the Midwest. This virus has now caused infection and illness in 17 states. There have been sick dogs in Charleston, SC and recently there has been a confirmed case in Ashville, NC. This is pretty close to home. There has also been a report of a case in a cat. It is very contagious and I now consider every dog at risk. I also consider every cat with dogs in the home or any cat who is boarded to be at risk.

We do not know for certain if the existing canine influenza vaccination (against H3N8) will also give protection against the H3N2 strain but initial studies look promising. We are recommending at this point that all dogs and puppies receive the influenza vaccination. There is much that is not known about the infection in cats. Some cats may be carriers and not show any signs. There is no vaccination approved for use in cats.

The vaccine manufacturer, Merck Animal Health has a guarantee of protection when your dog/puppy is appropriately vaccinated with the Novibac Canine Flu vaccination. This guarantee includes up to $5,000 to cover treatment costs if your dog becomes sick from EITHER strain of influenza. They may amend this if final studies show no cross protection, but as of July 7, 2015 the guarantee stands for both strains.

It is vital to call us today to get your dog protected against canine influenza. We have vaccinated many of our patients and have yet to see any adverse reactions to the vaccination. The cost is usually around $26.00 but we are offering it for $20.00 from now until the end of July. We really want to get all of our puppy and dog patients protected.

If your cat, puppy, or adult dog develops a cough and lethargy do NOT wait. Schedule an appointment right away. The influenza test is the most accurate on day 2 and 3 of clinical signs. The earlier we can start supportive treatment the better the chance for a good outcome.

My best recommendation for kitty parents is to not board your cats if at all possible. If you have both cat and dog children then be alert to any respiratory signs and bring them in ASAP if they are coughing and acting lethargic as if running a fever.

Please let me know if you have additional questions. We will keep you up to date as we receive more information. You can find more information at www.doginfluenza.com

Thank you,

Dr. Maggie