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Canine influenza is a respiratory disease that can cause coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, loss of energy, and/or loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs, but the coughing caused by canine influenza can last for several weeks.

  Boy with His Dog
  Make sure your dog receives the canine influenza vaccine!

With proper care, most dogs generally recover. However, canine influenza can lead to more severe or even life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia, and has been fatal in up to 8% of cases. Because canine influenza is caused by a relatively new virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. Also, since it is highly contagious, visiting places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, doggie daycares, dog parks, or groomers, puts dogs at higher risk for catching this new virus.

In most dogs, signs of infection are similar to "kennel cough" from other causes, and may include:

  • Mild low-grade fever
  • Soft, moist (productive) or dry cough lasting 10-30 days
  • Unresponsive to antibiotics or antitussives
  • +/- thick, purulent/mildly bloody nasal discharge

Making things more difficult is the fact that dogs can spread the virus before the coughing and other signs of sickness appear. Therefore, the best way to protect your dog from canine influenza is through vaccination. Like the human flu vaccine, the canine influenza vaccine doesn't completely prevent infection, but it can dramatically reduce the severity of the disease. The vaccine also significantly reduces the amount of virus that dogs shed, minimizing spread to other dogs — so it's the ideal way to protect our local canine community as well.

We recommend vaccinating dogs against canine influenza. To give your dog the most complete protection, the initial vaccination requires two doses of vaccine given 2-4 weeks apart, followed by a single booster dose given annually.