Canine Influenza Vaccinations
As you many of you have heard in the news and online, and from our previous emails and website postings, there has been an outbreak of canine influenza in the Bay Area. As of our last writing and posting, there had been no confirmed cases in Marin, though there had been many hundreds across the greater Bay Area. As we suspected and feared would happen, we have now seen several confirmed cases right here in Fairfax. We want to alert our clients and the community at large about the outbreak, remind owners about the basics of influenza, and help owners make an informed decision regarding the relative risks for their own dogs and the relative importance of vaccinating given their own unique circumstances.
There has been a lot of information, and unfortunately some misinformation, surrounding this outbreak. The American Veterinary Medical Association has an excellent article with accurate background information.
To summarize, dogs most at risk are “social dogs”- they might go to a dog park, or have a playgroup. Perhaps you bring your dog with you when you drop your children off at school or when you go to the store or run errands. If you bring your dog to areas where many other dogs visit, there is a very real risk of bringing home the dog flu. Keep in mind that Canine Influenza can be spread indirectly via fomites (e.g. kennels, food and water bowls, play toys, collars or leashes) or people that have been in contact with infected dogs. This means that your dog could become infected even if she/he doesn’t come in direct contact with another dog that has the virus.
We realize that the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate is a personal one and we are here to provide you with information regarding the disease so that you feel you are making an informed decision as to what is best for your pet.
We want to remind owners that, for your own dog’s protection, any dog staying at our facility for an elective, non-medical reason (this applies primarily to dogs coming in for boarding or bathing…yeah, we do that too!) must be current on their influenza vaccine, in addition to their Rabies, Bordetella, and Distemper/Parvo (which have always been required). Note that these vaccine requirements do NOT apply to our clinic and hospital. We are here to help meet your pets’ veterinary needs regardless of vaccine status.
If you would like your dog to receive the vaccination, please call us at 415-454-8204 or email us at [email protected] to make an appointment. The protocol for the H3N2/H3N8 flu vaccine is a total of 2 injections administered 3-4 weeks apart. The cost of each injection is $34. Additionally, we always perform a comprehensive physical exam for any patient receiving a vaccination. However, due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding this outbreak situation, we will offer that examination and office visit for 50% off ($25.50) provided your dog has been examined by us within the past 12 months. This discounted exam offer is good through July 31st, 2018. Of course, if there are any other concerns, or preventive care services that need to be addressed, that can all be discussed during the same appointment.
The H3N2 Influenza Virus outbreak in Northern California (437 cases) and Nevada (194 cases) continued to expand dynamically since the last update: The case load increased to 631, and this number only tallies those cases that have undergone testing through just 1 reference laboratory.
Expansion is occurring into the following directions:
- To the South: Santa Cruz, Atascadero, Pismo Beach; The Los Angeles case reported on the 12th was actually a Northern Californian case submitted by a veterinary clinic located in Los Angeles.
- To the North: San Francisco, Fairfield, Napa, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Redding; first case detected in Oregon
- To the East: Sacramento, Placerville, Truckee; Reno area (Nevada)