There are experts on both sides of the fence. One says get your dog vaccinated as a precaution; the other says dogs do not need flu shots.
There is however agreement on one thing. It’s important to consult with your vet about your dog and make your choice from there.
By mid-April there were 17 confirmed cases of dog flu. According to the latest reports, eight dogs have died in Illinois from the canine flu, with more than 1,100 dogs infected. Most are in the Chicago area, where dog parks and facilities are empty for fear of spreading the contagious disease.
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At least one local veterinarian essentially recommends that dogs under his care get a flu shot.
Western Veterinary Clinic in South Bend insists that your dog is vaccinated before being groomed or boarded there.
There’s certainly a difference of opinion in the community, veterinarian and owner of the Clinic Dr. Marty Langhofer, told the South Bend Tribune. “There is no absolute correct answer,” he added.
He has done extensive research, been in touch with experts at Cornell University in New York, and knows which side of the debate he is on and why.
“I would say we don’t have any more information than the other veterinarians that say, ‘We are not going to give it,’” Langhofer said. “But I don’t want to be the veterinarian who has a client come in here and their dog is sick and they say, ‘Why didn’t you try?’”
Langhofer also adds that as far as he knows from a fellow veterinarian in Chicago,none of the 1,100 dogs sickened by the virus in Illinois were vaccinated.
Dr. Kathleen Neuhoff of Magrane Pet Medical Center and Ireland Animal Clinic is on the other side of the debate.
“We are not recommending it here,” she told the South Bend Tribune. “The reasons are multiple. One is the strain seen in Chicago is not the same strain that is in the vaccine. The second thing is influenza is not a new disease. We have had it for decades in dogs and, in general, it’s not a severe disease.”
As of last Friday, there are no reports of the disease affecting an animal in this area, she added.
She also says that the infected dogs are typically highly stressed dogs, like racing greyhounds, which travel a lot, have poor diets and are not well taken care of.
Neuhoff also says that what she sees as a problem in Indiana is the canine infectious respiratory disease complex. Dog flu is only one of the component of this.
At the Ireland site, she has seen an increased incidence of Bordetella or kennel cough. Because of this, the Ireland Animal Clinic now requires a Bordetella vaccine.
The symptoms of the canine influenza require testing. They are similar to the other components of the respiratory complex, such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose and fever, Neuhoff says.
Both doctors stressed that for dog owners to make an informed decision about getting their dogs vaccinated, they should first talk it over with their veterinarian.
“They understand more about not only their clinic, their policies, what they are trying to protect and what they are trying to do,” Langhofer said.
Article source: South Bend Tribune