VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WBRC) – Veterinarians in our area are seeing an influx of sick dogs coming into their clinics.
Doctors said canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is spreading, but there are steps you can take to prevent your dog from catching it.
Dr. Kylie Harmon with Pet Wellness Animal Hospital in Vestavia Hills said dogs have been coming into animal clinics with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and hacking since the beginning of summer.
She said it’s often misdiagnosed as kennel cough, but it’s really canine flu, a contagious respiratory disease found in dogs.
Some animal shelters like the Greater Birmingham Humane Society have suspended all dog adoptions after several animals tested positive for dog flu.
And some animal clinics aren’t allowing any pets into their facilities—treating them outside until further notice.
Dr. Harmon said thankfully, Pet Wellness hasn’t seen any dog flu cases yet, and believes it’s because their patients are vaccinated.
“The influenza vaccine would be for dogs that board a lot, they come to daycare a lot that sort of thing and so in terms of the vaccine, it would give a single injection you’ll give a single vaccine and about 3 to 4 weeks later you would booster it. What the vaccine will do is reduce the risk of that a dog would become infected. If a dog did become infected, but was vaccinated against influenza, their clinical signs would be less severe,” Dr. Harmon said.
And if you’re wondering about costs for a dog flu vaccine, Dr. Harmon said it’s done as a bundle with distemper and kennel cough shots at Pet Wellness for a total of $60.
Subscribe to our WBRC newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email.
Should dog owners worry about the flu?
According to veterinarians, the canine influenza can be transmitted from dog to dog via respiratory secretions such as sneezing, coughing or barking, to name a few. As this virus can survive on the surface for up to 48 hours, a dog, if exposed, can pick it up from various locations such as a dog boarding kennel, food/water bowls, toys, collars, leashes or anything else that a dog can touch. As for clothing, the flu can live for up to 24 hours, while it can live on the human hands for up to 12 hours. All dogs, no matter the breed and age, can be exposed to the virus, but for the most part, dogs in confined areas, such as a boarding facility or shelter, are considered to be higher at risk.
The cost of the canine influenza vaccine
The cost of the canine influenza vaccine, according to some of the vet offices we talked to across the United States, would cost anywhere from $20 to $55 for just the vaccines(for both strains), and depending on the vet office policy, you may be charged an additional vet office fee, about $35 to $65, on top of this, bringing the grand total to $55 to $120 if you were to bring your dog to the vet.
According to the list of vaccinations on the petcarerx.com list, the average cost of just the vaccine is about $20 to $30.
The North Shore Animal Hospital, an animal hospital located in Tennesse, stated it would $45 for the initial vaccine and another $45 for the booster, bringing the grand total to $90.
This New York Times article noted that each injection, with two being required, most likely being $25 to $35 per injection.
The Infectious Disease Handbook, Powered by Nobivac
Stay on top of preventive care, and keep your business free from an outbreak, with this free handbook from medical and industry professionals
How much is the influenza vaccine for dogs?
Are flu shots really necessary for dogs?
What is the flu vaccine for dogs called?
The best treatment approach to canine influenza is effective prevention. Nobivac® Canine Flu Bivalent has been shown to be effective against canine influenza virus strains H3N2 and H3N8.