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Canine Influenza (CIV) Vaccination Requirement

In the Richmond area pet boarding facilities have been watching the new Canine Influenza Virus (H3N2) spread across the country since its appearance in Chicago in 2015. An earlier version of Canine Flu (H3N8) originated in Florida and is less of an immediate threat. H3N2 is also contagious to cats, but no vaccine is currently available for cats.

In the Richmond area close to 100% of dogs are naïve to these viruses and have no natural immunity to them. Virtually all exposed dogs will be infected should the virus be introduced here. Clinical signs may be severe and the disease is potentially fatal. A  CIV outbreak would quickly sweep through a boarding facility sickening every animal there because none have any immunity to it.  Up to 8% of critically ill dogs may die of complications.

As CIV is highly contagious and impossible to control in the EPIDEMIC phase when it first reaches an area, we and other nearby pet boarding facilities have decided it is time to protect our pets by vaccinating them against this disease.

As of March 1 2019, for everyone’s protection, we are going to require that dogs scheduled to board at our facility be vaccinated for Canine Flu.

Immunization for CIV requires an initial series of 2 shots, 2-4 weeks apart. A dog is considered protected 7-10 days after the second shot. The initial series is followed by an annual booster.  We are using the BIVALENT vaccine, protecting against both H3N2 and H3N8.

In addition to our requirements for boarding dogs, we recommend CIV vaccination for all “social canines” – those who visit grooming salons or dog parks, attend dog shows or obedience training classes,  travel or otherwise spend time where other dogs congregate. If a dog is recommended to receive a Kennel Cough vaccine, a CIV vaccine is appropriate for that dog.

In the future we will likely expand the CIV vaccination requirement to include grooming dogs, so grooming clients may wish to get their dogs vaccinated as well.

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