Ask The Vet: canine flu

Question: What ‘s the deal with doggie day care requiring Canine flu shots? Some places require it and I don’t know much about it. Any information would be helpful! Have a great day!

Reply: Great question, Karen. Fortunately canine flu (H3N8) isn’t endemic in our area, so we don’t give the vaccine unless the dog is traveling to a dog show, an endemic area (Philadelphia, Long Island), etc. Some facilities require it because it helps decrease the risk that a dog will bring it into their facility. If H3N8 gets into a boarding/daycare facility, they’d have to close for multiple weeks and that would devastate their business. The vaccine is no more of a risk to give than any other vaccine, so we’re not concerned about giving it to dogs that are in good health. Canine flu only causes symptoms in a low percentage of dogs that contract it, and it only becomes a serious health risk in a small percentage of those dogs. Puppies, geriatric dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems are most at risk, similar to which people are at risk when exposed to strains of the human flu. We stock the canine H3N8 vaccine here, FYI. It’s a two shot series given 3-4 weeks apart, then once a year thereafter if you’re continuing it.

Dr. Cahill

(Photo from