Petfinder.com Foundation is partnering with Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, a global animal health company and makers of the NOBIVAC Canine Flu H3N8 vaccine, to help local animal shelters and rescue groups take a leadership role in building community immunity against canine influenza virus (CIV).
Canine flu is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily from dog to dog, especially those in close proximity.
Up to one million doses will be distributed to Petfinder.com member organizations selected from those who submit grant applications for the vaccine. Each shelter and rescue organization awarded the grant will receive up to a four-month, two-dose supply of the vaccine.
Because canine influenza is a relatively new disease, most dogs have no immunity to it. Dogs can get the disease by being exposed to those that have it, as well as by playing with toys or drinking from bowls used by other dogs. People can also unwittingly spread the germ between dogs if they come in contact with infected dogs.
Dog flu is a growing problem throughout the U.S. It has been confirmed in 34 states so far, but tracking the disease is hard because it is so difficult to diagnose.
Dogs with the flu are contagious before they show any symptoms. By the time the dog starts coughing, it’s too late.
Dogs at risk include those in close proximity with other dogs, as is the case with shelters and rescue facilities, boarding kennels, dog shows, dog daycare and training classes as well as those that travel with families or belong to animal healthcare workers. Dogs vaccinated against Bordetella should also get the canine flu vaccine.
The program will link PetFinder.com member shelter and rescue grant recipients with local veterinarians to protect all adoptable dogs in their care. This will ensure these dogs and their new families see their veterinarian for booster vaccinations and then for regular wellness care.
“Building Community Immunity” reinforces that the veterinary, shelter, rescue and boarding kennel communities must work collaboratively to create new protocols and practices to protect dogs from Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), including canine influenza virus.
Information about canine flu is available at www.doginfluenza.com.
Petfinder member organizations can visit www.petfinderfoundation.com/intervet for more information and a link to the grant application.