Recently an outbreak of Canine Influenza, also known as CIV, occurred in Lancaster, PA. Canine Influenza is caused by a virus that actually originated in horses. Symptoms are similar to kennel cough but usually more severe: coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, fever and lethargy. It is more likely to go deeper into the lungs than kennel cough and cause pneumonia. It is transmitted through the air with nose-to-nose contact (coughing) and contaminated objects with the virus (toys, water dishes, etc). Dogs that are boarded in kennels, attend grooming facilities and dog shows are most at risk due to the increased contact with many dogs and the high stress dogs undergo in these particular places. Diagnosis can be made through a throat swab or a blood test and x-rays of the lungs helps to diagnose potential pneumonia. Treatment consists of antibiotics for 2-3 weeks depending on the severity. If a dog develops pneumonia, hospitalization is likely necessary. A vaccine is available and is recommended for dogs that are considered to be high risk for exposure (contact with unknown dogs through dog parks, kennels, veterinary hospitals, grooming facilities and dog shows). It is given as 2 vaccines 3-4 weeks apart as an initial vaccination and then once yearly. The vaccine can not “give” a dog symptoms of the flu. The influenza vaccine will be required for surgery patients and medical boarders at AHDC starting January 2013 if your dog is health enough to receive the vaccine.