With flu season knocking on our front door, you’re probably running to the doctors or to your local drug store for your annual flu shot — but think twice, as your dog(s) might need a shot this year as well.
The H3N2 virus and the H3N8 virus, commonly known as the dog flu, is spreading across America rapidly. In the state of New York, multiple cases have been confirmed in Brooklyn earlier this year.
Head Waterville Vet, Dr. James Gilchrist, says there are common signs dog owners should be looking for to detect these flu-like symptoms.
“The most common we will see is coughing, sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, and fever,” said Gilchrist.
Gilchrist says you can vaccinate your dog as early as 8 weeks of age, although he recommends waiting until all the puppy shots are administered.
The way the dog flu shot works is a series of two shots: the initial shot, and then a second one a few weeks later.
“We recommend the [flu shot] to patients who are going to dog parks, groomers, or boarding facilities,” said Gilchrist.
Dr. Heather Bauer, a veterinarian at the Waterville Clinic, says she has never seen a case of the dog flu yet, but strongly recommends vaccinating your dog — especially if you plan on boarding them.
“No matter how clean kennels are, there is still that possible chance for your dog to catch it,” said Bauer. “Especially nowadays, everyone bringing their dogs to the pet store, Lowes, or the groomers — it is a must.”
The Waterville Veterinary Clinic is holding a dog flu clinic October 26 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. All dogs are welcome.