Merck Animal Health announced it has created Dog Flu Prevention Week, to be held during the third week of April annually (this year April 16-22), as a reminder to pet owners to protect their social dogs, either for the first time or for revaccination.
Thousands of cases of dog flu have been confirmed across the country in the past year, and Dog Flu Prevention Week is being launched to recognize the anniversary of the discovery of the newest strain—H3N2—the party responsible for most cases.
Dog Flu Prevention Week will kick off the discussion around vaccine-preventable diseases in conjunction with World Animal Vaccination Day, which is April 20.
“All dogs that are social and interact with other dogs are at risk for dog flu, but the good news is that dog flu is vaccine preventable,” said Kathryn Primm, DVM, co-author of the Pet Parent’s Guide to Infectious Disease of Dogs. “Dogs can be protected against both strains of dog flu with a single vaccine, which is given as two doses, two to four weeks apart.”
Social dogs that are frequently in contact with other dogs at places like dog parks, dog day care and grooming facilities, and boarding kennels are at an increased risk of canine influenza and should be vaccinated on an annual basis to prevent illness or decrease the severity of symptoms if they do become sick.
“As the weather gets warmer and dogs are spending more time outside around other dogs, we hope that Dog Flu Prevention Week serves as a reminder for pet owners to talk to their veterinarians about whether the dog flu bivalent vaccine should be added to their dog’s vaccination protocol,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (Emeritus), CEO of the American Animal Hospital Association.
For more information, visit dogflu.com.