CENTER POINT -- 911 Pet Rescue, Inc., now has help in protecting dogs against canine influenza virus (CIV), a highly contagious disease that spreads easily from dog to dog, especially those in close proximity.
The shelter recently received a grant for the vaccines as part of a Petfinder.com Foundation program to build community immunity against the respiratory infection.
The foundation partnered with Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, a global animal health company and makers of the NOVIVAC(r) Canine Flu H3N8 vaccine, to fund the grant.
Because CIV is relatively new, most dogs have not built up immunity to the disease. Dogs can get the disease by being exposed to those that have it, as well as playing with toys or drinking from bowls used by other dogs. People can also unwittingly spread the germ if they come in contact with infected dogs.
Dog flu is a growing problem throughout the United States. It has been confirmed in 35 states so far, but tacking the disease is hard because it is so difficult to diagnose. Dogs are contagious before they show any symptoms. By the time the dog starts coughing, it's too late. Virtually all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected, and some will get more serious infections, such as pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Dogs that go to doggie daycare, boarding facilities, groomers and shows and are vaccinated for canine cough (Bordetella) are also at risk for canine flu. Information about canine flu is available at www.doginfluenza.com.
The grant for Building Community Immunity seeks to protect all at-risk dogs in the community, including those in close proximity with other dogs, as is the case with shelters and rescue facilities. It also provides greater assurance to adopting families that their new pets will be healthier and much less likely to be sick or get more serious, sometimes fatal, infections. The grant further links PetFinder.com member shelters and rescue grant recipients with local veterinarians to protect all adoptable dogs in their care.
The program promotes veterinary visits for wellness exams and, when appropriate, the second dose administration of Nobivac Canine Flu vaccine.
The PetFinder.com Foundation was created in 2003 to respond to needs of its Petfinder member shelters and rescue groups and to assist them in ensuring that no pet is euthanized for lack of a home. The vaccine grant will help keep dogs healthy and adoptable.