In the original article on this outbreak Dr. Jess mentioned that vaccinating your dog may be effective in preventing your pet from getting the flu but more information is now available. Please read the following, written by Dr. Jess, and remember that prevention is key!
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The current strain of flu found in the canine outbreak in Chicago is similar to a previously isolated strain found in Asia, but this current strain has many unique characteristics. Therefore, the current vaccine (created for treating the h3n8 strain) and provided by Zoetis or Merck , is not effective in treating the current illness (h3n2). This change of strain is exactly the reason why flu vaccines for humans are carefully calculated to try to protect for each season of outbreak. In some years, the vaccines given to people are a very good fit and protect well, while other years, unique strains appear that vaccinations do not protect from. Such is the case with the current canine outbreak. Vaccine manufacturers work as fast as they can, but there is not an exact protective canine influenza vaccine for h3n2 available as of yet. At this point, I would not require vaccination for public dogs. We know the current vaccine seems to be well tolerated, and may offer some protection. More information should be available in the next few weeks or months.
Please visit Cornell’s website for more information.
Dr. Jess Franklin, DVM