The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Nobivac Canine Flu Bivalent, which manufacturer Merck Animal Health described as the first vaccine formulated to control subtypes H3N8 and H3N2.
First diagnosed in 2004, H3N8 has stricken dogs in 40 states. H3N2, reported in 2015, has wreaked havoc across more than half the United States, killing some patients.
“The occurrence of one strain or the other is unpredictable, so dogs should be protected against both,” said University of Wisconsin veterinary Professor Ronald Schultz, Ph.D. “Because dogs do not maintain a long duration of immunity against influenza, it is important to vaccinate them annually.”
University of Wisconsin researchers found H3N2 to have a longer infectious period, up to 24 days, than H3N8, making it easier to spread, Merck reported.
In severe cases, canine influenza can cause pneumonia, which is one reason Nobivac is recommended for healthy dogs 7 weeks or older. Two vaccinations delivered two to four weeks apart are required.
There is no evidence that canine flu can be transmitted to people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Merck’s U.S. headquarters are in Madison, N.J.
Originally published in the December 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!