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Is the Canine Influenza Vaccine Appropriate for Your Dog?

This article originally appeared on my ongoing series of articles for Flexcin International, Inc as Is the Canine Influenza Vaccine Appropriate for Your Dog?

Fall’s transition into winter is the time when human medical practitioners recommend their patients receive a flu shot. Should you also be arranging an Influenza vaccination for your canine companion?

Our dogs are just as susceptible to catching the flu as humans. It is important to keep them up to date with their vaccinations as well as living a healthy lifestyle to ensure our canine companions continue a comfortable co-habitation with us.

Perhaps you’ve never considered that your dog is susceptible to the flu. In reality, your pooch could contract the humancanine, and other strains of influenza viruses from youfellow dogs, or other animal species.

How to I prevent my dog from getting the flu?

There is a flu shot available for dogs; Canine Influenza Virus vaccination.

CIV is not an organism that all dogs will be exposed to, nor does it commonly cause severe or life threatening illness.  Additionally, CIV isn’t a legally required vaccination on a state or national level.  Therefore, it’s not an option that many veterinarians highly recommend for their canine patients. More emphasis is usually placed on preventing potentially fatal diseases, like DistemperParvo, and Rabies.

Should my dog be vaccinated for the flu?

Dogs who frequent certain environments can benefit from being immunized against CIV. These settings include:

  • Boarding facilities- kennels and daycare
  • Breed shows and interest group gatherings
  • Dog parks
  • Performance trials (agility, earth dog, etc.)
  • Shelters and rescues
  • Veterinary hospitals

Dogs are more likely to be exposed to infectious organisms, including bacteriaviruses, andparasites at settings like those mentioned above. These dog gatherings also create the potential for direct interaction or exposure to bodily secretions (nasal, oral, etc.) and the exchange of disease causing agents.  Additionally, the stress experienced during confinement commonly alters normal patterns of eatingsleepingurinating, and defecating, thereby negatively affecting the canine immune system and making our canine companions more susceptible to infection.

Don’t vaccinate your dog if…

Dogs that should not be vaccinated for CIV or should be evaluated before an immunization include those suffering from or requiring medication to manage:

  • Cancer- Lymphoma, Hemangiosarcoma, Mast Cell Tumors, Osteosarcoma, etc.
  • Immune Mediated Disease (i.e. Autoimmune)- Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) and Thrombocytopenia (IMTP), etc.
  • Allergic Skin Disease- Environmental Allergies (Atopy), etc.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Infectious Disease

Additionally, juveniles (puppies) and geriatrics (senior dogs) need special consideration when it comes to CIV vaccination.  As their immune systems are often still forming, administration of a vaccine holds greater potential to cause illness instead of preventing it.

Do your part

Promote good sanitary habits among family members of all ages through hand washing with soap and warm water after touching an animal or another other person.  Avoid close contact with pets and other people if you are sick.


Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.


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