Vaccines have been the talk of the town (and country…and the world!) for some time now. This vaccine discussion does not only apply to humans but to canines, as well.
Dog influenza, also known as the dog flu, is a sickness that all pet owners would like their beloved pups to avoid. But you may be wondering, “does my dog actually need to be vaccinated or is it a waste of time?”
This article is going to address the side effects of dog flu vaccine, including their symptoms, and what the latest research reveals. Before diving into these points, here is a little history of the dog flu itself. After all, knowing the roots of a disease can help give insight into how to potentially prevent it.
Where Did Dog Influenza Originate? Why Does That Matter?
The origin of dog influenza is cited as being initiated from a virus, known as H3N8, that had begun in horses and, somewhere along the way, transitioned into dogs. Also, a different type of virus is thought to have sparked another round of flu – the H3N2 from a bird virus that then transferred to dogs as well.
Dog flu, whether from birds or horses, developed and was transferred in very modern history. Because the viruses are so new, it means that dogs have not had time to develop an immunity towards them. That’s why, if exposed, 80% of dogs that come into contact with a dog flu virus will contract the virus and show symptoms.
How is Dog Flu Spread Now?
Since the virus has transferred over to dogs, the flu spreads much more rapidly. The virus is mostly contracted through airborne particles (shared through canine coughing, barking or other activities that would transfer saliva particles), touch (with other dog bowls, dog park equipment) or transference from a human petting one dog and then their own dog. Even a friendly lick could spread the virus.
The dog flu, due to the method of contraction, is most prevalent in close communities. For example, if you live in a busy city and go to a bustling dog park, put your dog in a doggy daycare with other canines or go on long walks around a lake with lots of other pups, that may put your dog more at risk. However, if you live in a remote area where they wander the countryside or have a lot of space that is more isolated, they may be less in need of the vaccine.
How and When are Dog Flu Vaccines Recommended?
Some vaccines are considered the most vital, core vaccines while others are just recommended, but not necessarily in the “most, must-have recommended”. According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Task Force, the core vaccines are considered to be:
Just behind these almost-always-recommended vaccines are the “non-core” vaccines, which are:
The Dog Flu Vaccine (or Canine Influenza) is indeed in the top 8 vaccines (lower half “non-core”) recommended by a trusted task force that has the purpose of sharing vaccination recommendations in both the United States and in Canada.
When Deciding Whether to Vaccinate, Consider This
When deciding on whether to get the vaccine or not, there are different perspectives to consider. After all, there are many viewpoints on this that should be taken into consideration.
One factor to consider, if wary, is if there have been reports of outbreaks in your area. If you’re on the fence about vaccinating and hear there have been cases near you, this could potentially help add a layer of protection.
Perhaps the main concern is potential side effects your dog could experience. Let’s address that now.
Possible Dog Flu Vaccine Side Effects
There can be side effects to getting vaccinated, however, most side effects are found to be a rare occurrence, according to established veterinary clinics like Harlingen Veterinary Clinic. Some of the potential side effects you may witness would include:
- Loss of appetite
- Digestion issues
- Experiencing discomfort or a swelling of the area around where the injection took place
- Skin rash
It’s important to note that these side effects are more likely to have a greater effect on smaller canines.
If the side effects of the vaccine have not worn away within three days, then it would be a good idea to consult with your trusted veterinary professional.
Does the Dog Flu Vaccine Halt the Virus?
Unfortunately, the vaccine doesn’t guarantee the virus will be completely prevented, however, it is most likely to help in lessening symptoms.
Your Next Step
Every situation and dog is unique, so you’ll want to make sure you get a unique diagnosis. Consult with your vet professional to discuss the options and find the right one for you and your pup.
“Canine Flu: What Should You Be Afraid Of?” Dogs Naturally Magazine, 19 Oct. 2018, Accessed 9 Dec 2018. www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/canine-flu-what-should-you-be-afraid-of/.
“Canine Influenza and Dog Flu Shots – Get the Facts!” Porte Veterinary Hospital, 19 Dec. 2017, Accessed 9 Dec 2018. www.porteveterinary.com/2017/12/19/canine-influenza-dog-flu-shots-get-facts/.
Storie, Will. “Dog Flu Vaccine Becomes Increasingly Available, But Does Your Dog Need It?” BarkPost, 15 Jan. 2016, Accessed 9 Dec 2018. www.barkpost.com/discover/dog-flu-vaccine/.
“Dog Vaccinations.” Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, 16 May 2017, Accessed 9 Dec 2018. www.harlingenveterinaryclinic.com/services/dogs/dog-vaccinations.
“AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force.” AAHA, Accessed 9 Dec. 2018. www.aaha.org/guidelines/canine_vaccination_guidelines.aspx.