Your personal protection dogs protect you and your family from harm. You want to do the same for your dogs. They are important to you and your family. That protection includes being sure that your canine is up to date on their immunizations. Most likely, you have heard about the potential spread of the canine flu, so you may be asking yourself a very important question, does the canine flu vaccine work?
The Facts About Canine Flu
That is a fair question. The first US strain of the canine flu was identified 14 years ago in Florida (H3N8). The second strain was identified (H3N2) in 2015 in Chicago. Since it’s first outbreak, the canine flu has been recorded across the United States and in Canada.
There are more than 90 million dogs in the United States. There have been less than 2500 cases of canine flu reported since 2015, roughly 850 cases a year. As you can see, the risk of your pet contracting the canine flu is pretty small. There is only 0.0027 percent chance that your dog will contract the virus. So the next question you may be asking yourself could be, is the vaccine even necessary?
The Canine Flu Vaccine
The media may have you believing that canine flu is a widespread problem. The pharmaceutical companies that make the flu vaccines will lead you to believe that the vaccine is necessary for the health or survival of your personal protection dogs, especially if they are frequently in contact with other dogs.
If you are considering the canine flu vaccine for your dog, or thinking about the possibility of vaccination as you search for personal protection dogs for sale, there are a few details you should be aware of.
You should know that the canine flu vaccine is a killed vaccine. Manufacturers use killed vaccines to eliminate the risk of spreading a live virus. A killed vaccine makes it much harder for the animals immune system to trigger an immune response to the virus.
To offset the fact that vaccines are made with a killed virus, chemicals are added to improve the effectiveness and duration of the vaccines protective properties. These added chemicals may be dangerous for your dog. Here is a list of some of the common vaccine additives.
- Formaldehyde a known carcinogen
- Aluminum a neurotoxin that can cause brain inflammation, seizures and dementia
- Phenol a corrosive substance from coal tar that is known to be highly toxic
- Thimerosal a mercury-based preservative also known to cause neurological disorders and tissue cell death
- Animal tissues disease micro-organisms are typically cultured on animal tissue. These tissues enter the bloodstream and are fought by the immune system as a foreign substance
Not only is the canine flu vaccine full of substances that can harm your dog, but this vaccine has not been proven to prevent influenza infection. Manufacturers will continue to modify the flu vaccine to fit new strains of the disease. Your canine will need to continue to get new vaccines as the virus becomes resistant. The original vaccines will be ineffective, if they were ever effective to in the first place.
Some protection dog owners wonder if the associated risks are worth the unproven benefits. Some vets even express concern that too many vaccines can actually damage a dog’s immune system.
Symptoms of Canine Influenza
In most cases, dogs who contract canine influenza will have been in direct contact with a dog that carries the virus. It is typically spread through the coughing or sneezing of infected animals, or by contact with infections through shared dishes or toys.
Dogs who contract canine flu can develop symptoms that vary in intensity. Some will get no symptoms, or In its mildest form, the canine flu will result in a cough, either a wet cough or a dry cough, that will resolve on its own. If the illness is severe, you will notice the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Red eyes
- High fever (above 104 degrees)
Dogs who contract canine flu are at risk of developing pneumonia, especially if their health is compromised by other conditions. Flu symptoms can last from 10 – 30 days.
If your dog Catches the Canine Flu
The canine flu is a virus, so an antibiotic will not be helpful, unless your protection dog develops a secondary infection, such as pneumonia. There are a few things you can do at home to help your dog recover from the flu.
- Let your dog rest. Physical exertion can make a cough worse
- Keep watch to be sure your dog is eating and getting enough fluids
- Disinfect by using white vinegar. Simply spray vinegar on surfaces and wipe or rinse The virus will live on surfaces for up to 24 hours and on clothing for up to 24 hours
- Ask your vet about immune boosting supplements such as echinacea, goldenseal or garlic
Most healthy protection dogs will get over canine influenza on their own, but it is important to keep your dog away from other dogs to keep the virus from spreading. It is relatively good news that having canine flu will help your dog build a resistance to the flu in the future.
It is fairly unlikely that your dog will come in contact with canine flu, but even if your protection dog catches the virus, it is usually mild and can be easily treated at home.
Most family pets will not contract canine flu. This flu virus is primarily associated with facilities such as animal shelters and kennels that house a lot of dogs in a confined space. If you are looking for a protection dog or searching for personal protection dogs for sale, you may have been concerned. It’s good to know that canine flu is not as widespread as the media and pharmaceutical companies may want you to believe.
There are several vaccines that will benefit the health of your dog, but the canine flu vaccine may not be necessary. If you suspect your protection dog has canine influenza, keep an eye on their fluids and their appetite, and consult with your veterinarian if you have any further concerns.