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Canine Influenza Update

We have a follow-up to a story from earlier this week, regarding influenza in canines.

As dog flu cases are going up dog-owners are trying to get their pets vaccinated.

The only current manufacturer of canine influenza vaccines, ZOETIS, is experiencing some supply disruptions which is worrying local vets about having enough supplies for the season.

The CDC states that Canine influenza, or dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses. Currently, there are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus. The vaccines work for both strains.

“It’s not what we would call a core vaccine where you walk into your clinic and it’s going to be routinely given to your animal. We screen people to see, do you board a lot? Do you spend a lot of time in doggy day care? Those dogs that are higher risk we definitely recommend the vaccine.”

But veterinarians report a shortage in the vaccine.

“There’s a huge shortage right now and that is the big problem. We can’t vaccinate anybody at all right now. We have very little vaccine left.”

We contacted the manufacturer of the vaccine, ZOETIS for comment and they said that –

The current shortage of canine influenza vaccines is the result of another company pulling out of the market several months ago, and this has impacted Zoetis and our ability to meet the increased demand. We are the only manufacturer currently supplying these vaccines to the market, and this type of biologics product (vaccine) requires a good deal of lead time for planning, production, and quality testing. While short-term disruptions are still happening, we expect the supply situation to stabilize this spring.

Dr. Hunter says that not many dogs are receiving the vaccine at the moment but that’s likely to change with rising outbreaks.

“Less than 50 a year. We should be vaccinating more dogs than we are and that may be why we’re seeing more of these outbreaks.”

He also said the cost of the vaccine is an issue.

“That’s probably what’s stopping most people. It is one of the more expensive vaccines. But, compared to the cost of treatment, which could be quite expensive, it’s worth it.”

If you have concerns about your dog’s health you should contact your local veterinarian.

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