There have been reports in the Bay Area of California of increasing cases of Canine Influenza (CIV), a highly contagious respiratory tract infection, which is airborne and can be contagious before signs of any symptoms, much like Influenza in humans. Due to the movement of rescue dogs coming to Portland from the Bay area as well as frequent travel between these cities, the risk of introducing CIV could significantly increase in the Portland area.
Canine Influenza (CIV) is largely caused by 2 subtypes of the influenza A virus, H3N8 and H3N2. The most common clinical signs are coughing, anorexia, lethargy, sneezing, ocular discharge and clear to mucopurulent nasal discharge. There is a bivalent vaccine available that covers both strains, or individual vaccines for each strain (all inactivated). It is recommended to give the initial vaccine with a booster 2-4 weeks later, with yearly vaccinations after that. Current vaccines do not prevent CIV infection but they significantly decrease the severity and degree of infection, illness, and viral shedding. Significant immunity may take up to 1 week after the second booster, thus single vaccines are unlikely to be protective for dogs.
The Portland Veterinary Medical Association, The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and the State Public Health Veterinarian, are recommending proactively vaccinating dogs for CIV to protect these patients and prevent and outbreak in our community. We will be requiring vaccinations for both strains of CIV for any customers seeking services for canines, to help prevent the spread of CIV in our community and to help protect our furry friends.