A months-long canine influenza vaccine shortage is impacting local veterinary clinics — and possibly your Memorial Day weekend.
“The biggest concern for me as a practitioner is people that are potentially going down to California because that’s where they’ve had the most recent outbreak of the new strain,” medical director at Bend Veterinary Clinic Dr. Byron Mass said.
Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus among dogs. Symptoms of the virus are similar to that of human influenza, causing coughing, sneezing, runny nose and congestion. While it’s not believed to pose a threat to humans, it can also infect cats.
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Practices have had trouble vaccinating dogs that are due for their shots. For some vets, they haven’t had an order delivered for the canine influenza vaccine in months.
“We have a wait list right now. I think we might be close to 50 pets waiting to receive the vaccine, including pets that need to start their vaccine series,” Associate Veterinarian at Central Oregon Animal Hospital Chris Triola said.”The last order we had was in mid-February. It was a tray of 50 vaccines and we went through that in a month. Daily, we have a pet that needs or is due for the vaccine.”
If left untreated, the virus can develop into pneumonia, which can be fatal.
While canine influenza hasn’t been a problem in Central Oregon recently, Triola asks dog owners to be aware of the risks while traveling and to not be surprised if doggy daycares turn away your pet if it’s unvaccinated.
“It’s due diligence as far as increased risks: exposure to other dogs, most doggy daycares will require the vaccine. Candidates for the vaccine are going to be dogs going to dog parks, especially in our area,” Triola said.
The clinics say to keep any eye on dogs you are unfamiliar with if they are playing or interacting with your four-legged companion. If those dogs show any of the symptoms listed, remove yours from the situation.