There is a current outbreak of the H3N2 strain of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in California, with over 400 positive cases reported.
It is believed that the outbreak originated in boarding kennels and doggie day care centers in the South Bay area near San Francisco. Because of the serious concerns with CIV spreading, many canine facilities have temporarily closed. Many boarding and grooming businesses now require a current CIV vaccine.
Vaccination of At-Risk Patients Recommended
Because of the geographic proximity between California and Oregon, there is a risk that CIV may be brought into our state. There also is additional concern with the ongoing importation of dogs from the Bay Area to shelters and rescue groups that may introduce H3N2 CIV to Oregon. The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, the Portland Veterinary Medical Association, and the Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Emilio DeBess, recommend proactive vaccination of at-risk dogs for CIV to protect these patients and prevent a possible outbreak in our communities.
Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities, shelters and rescues are at increased risk of infection. Dogs with pre-existing heart disease or lung disease, some senior dogs, and brachycephalic breeds may also be at risk.
Dogs should be vaccinated with a 2-dose series of bivalent vaccine, 2-4 weeks apart. Full immunity does not occur until 7-10 days after the second immunization in the initial series and is effective for 12 months. Boosters should then be given annually. Vaccination may not all together prevent an infection, but it may reduce the severity and duration of clinical illness.
Veterinary practices should implement measures to prevent transmission of CIV between dogs at the practice. Dogs with clinical signs consistent with respiratory disease should not be allowed in the waiting room. Clients may need to wait in the vehicle until clinic staff is ready to see the dog without risking exposure to other dogs. Dogs suspected of having CIV should avoid the main entrance whenever possible and enter or exit the facility through a different door.
Areas where potentially infected dogs are examined and treated, as well as all instruments used, must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the dog is discharged. Staff members should wear personal protective equipment (gloves and gown at a minimum) when examining or caring for patients suspected of having CIV.
Canine influenza virus testing can be performed at private laboratories. In addition, PCR testing may be performed at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab under the Public Health Veterinarian’s account at no cost to area veterinarians. Qualifying samples must be taken during acute phase (within 2 days of onset of clinical signs), and patients must be febrile >103 F, with nasal discharge and cough with potential pulmonary involvement. Deep nasal and deep oral samples are acceptable.