Author Topic: Flu Shots  (Read 544 times)

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Offline BillBRNC

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Flu Shots
« on: June 27, 2017, 07:01:17 PM »
I found out recently that there is a really bad strain of doggie flu in the Southeast, and it has made its way to NC where we live with my SD, Doc. Our Vet and most all Vets are urging people to get the vaccine that covers this particular type flu. We got the first shot for Doc, and he is going back for a booster next week. The reason everyone is pushing these shots is because a lot of dogs have died from this strain of flu. Anyway, there is another flu vaccine that covers the regular flu. Our Vet and most Vets around here say that dogs don't need this vaccine because the potential problems from the shot are greater than the potential benefit. I know Vets from other part of the state who have the same opinion. The program that trained my Doc is urging us to get Doc vaccinated with the regular flu vaccine as well, contrary to what our Vet and many other Vets say. My question is does my Doc need to have the other regular flu vaccine as well. These vaccines have letters and numbers to identify them, but I don't know them as I sit here right now. Any thoughts? Thanks. Bill.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 10:19:29 PM »
Does the program own Doc or otherwise have a say in his care from the contract?  It's very important not to violate your contract without first talking to an attorney.

IF there is nothing legal requiring you to do as the program says, AND if you trust your vet, then I advise you to take your vet's advice on veterinary issues and your program's advice on program related issues.

Why?  Two reasons.  First, your vet is a specialist in the area of veterinary medicine.  While not all vets are excellent most are competent to advise on an issue like this one.  If you trust this vet with your dog's life in a veterinary emergency and have no reason to doubt him on this issue, then do as he suggests.  Second, the issue of this type of vaccination is a regional issue.  The local vets are in the best position possible to make an informed decision about the risks to their clients.

If the vets in your area are uniformly advising pet clients (as opposed to competition clients) get this vaccination for their pets, then a SD should get it too because a SD is at an equal or higher risk than the average pet because he has contact with a lot of different people and places in the area, more than the average pet.  A SD probably has less risk than a competition dog unless the SD regularly travels outside of his home state or participates in risky behavior like going to dog parks (where dogs are exposed to many unknown dogs and their waste products).  So sometimes a vet will advise show or trial dogs or other dogs that travel get a vaccination but not pet dogs.  That's the situation I'm in with this flu.  The current advice for me in my area is to avoid risky behavior and not vaccinate.  Again, that is regional, and I'm taking my vet's advice.  If I were in your position, I would take your local vets' advice.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 10:58:19 PM »
Bill, if it helps I'm also in NC and did end up getting the vaccination for Jubilee. She will receive her booster in a week, nearly 3 weeks after the first. I am not getting my two older pet dogs vaccinated. The flu vaccine will not prevent a dog from getting infected with the virus, and it will not prevent the dog from being a carrier and spreading it to other dogs.

My reasoning for getting the vaccine after spending almost half an hour talking to my vet about it was that because the dog can be sick for 3-4 weeks, it is a shorter and milder illness for most dogs sickened by the flu who have received the flu vaccine and booster. Given the level of independence that I have with Jubi vs. without, a shorter illness is far preferable to a longer one. Between both our region and the number of shows and events Jubi and I go to regularly, she is at higher than average risk.

Kirsten's answer is a good one to check whether you're legally required to follow the medical recommendations of your program or if they are strongly suggested but not legally required. If you've talked with your vet and your vet thinks the risks of the shot outweigh the benefit and you're not legally bound to follow your program's recommendation for the flu shot, then take your vet's advice if you trust their medical opinion in relation to Doc and his health.
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Offline Irie feeling

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2017, 06:57:31 AM »
Bill, you gotta trust your vet, that they know what's best for you and Doc. If you DONT trust him/her Bill, find a new one.
I got the round of shots for Cinderella too. We might inadvertantly run into other dogs. Pet stores, hardware stores, other SD's, maybe places where germs were left behind, say under tables at restaurants? Don't forget this: sick dogs go to the animal hospital for care.
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Offline BillBRNC

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2017, 08:06:44 AM »
I really appreciate the replies. I've been worrying about this some. I own Doc now, not the program that trained him and placed him with me, so I am not required to follow their advice, but I do trust them very much...thus my dilemma. I do trust my Vet, plus I also trust the other Vets she works with, and none of them are giving the regular flu shot to dogs. They do give this a shot for the new strain that is killing dogs and is now in Western NC, so they recommended it. Doc go sick after getting the initial shot, and we took him back to the Vet to make sure nothing terrible was happening. They told us that this was not unusual. They gave him a shot for nausea and told us to bring him back if it didn't clear up. It did clear up, but he now needs to go back and get the booster shot, so I guess we might go through this again. I don't want to give Doc the regular flu shot if he doesn't really need it, because that offers yet another opportunity for him to get sick again, but if he needs it then he needs it, but my Vet says they aren't giving the regular flu shot to any dogs period. They feel strongly about it, so I guess I'll follow everyone's advice and only do the special shot and booster. Thanks to all. Bill. 
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Offline Ariel

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2017, 06:12:29 PM »
I didn't realize there was another flu shot for dogs vs. the H3N8 canine influenza shot. The latter is what Jubi got because she is at higher risk through some of the sports we do to get the virus and because it is such a prolonged illness and can be so serious. Thankfully she had absolutely no side effects whatsoever and was her happy exuberant self after.
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Offline BillBRNC

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 08:09:59 AM »
Ariel, I think that is what I understand. There is the normal yearly flu shot, and there also is the special flu shot for some unusual strain that is making the rounds. For us in NC, I was told the unusual strain came to NC via Georgia and SC. It is supposed to be very serious, much more so than the normal flu. The flu shot for the unusual strain is the one my Doc had and will be getting his booster for next week. The normal flu shot is the one our Vet says he doesn't need, but the program that trained Doc says he does need. Trying to keep this straight is getting far beyond my demented mind to embrace. Bill.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 01:08:03 PM »
I didn't realize there was a recommended yearly flu shot for dogs. I was never offered it for any of my dogs, or don't remember if I was. Jubi got the vaccination for the much more serious canine flu that can have deadly complications. She gets her booster on July 5th.
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Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 07:59:46 PM »
How likely is it that a healthy dog that is doing PA in non-pet friendly stores will catch this strain of the flu? We don't go to shows or events, and we don't do pet stores but I've halted PA of other reasons. Is it safe to have Az out doing PA if I resolve the other issues I'm having?
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2017, 10:14:30 PM »
This thing is at something like a 90% infection rate, meaning if exposed, nine out of ten dogs will contract it.  If there are known infected dogs in your state then probably, IMO, he needs to be vaccinated, even without risky behavior (pet stores, dog parks, places with high concentrations of unknown or unvaccinated dogs).  He doesn't need to be face to face with the infected dog.  This is a virus which can be transmitted on surfaces.  I'm going from memory, which might not be correct but I've got it in my head that it can remain viable 12-48 hours on surfaces.  That's relatively a short time period, compared to, say, parvovirus but still that means if an infected dog has contacted that surface in the last two days your dog could be at a 90% likelihood to get it.

There are a bunch of factors that come into play.  Lifestage (adult is safest, juvenile and elderly are at increased risk).  Overall health (healthy is safest, dog with a preexisting condition, other illness, compromised immune system, poor nutrition, etc. is at greater risk).  Vaccination/social history (dog with a good vaccination history is safest, dog who has never had his immune system challenged so has fewer antibodies is at greater risk).  A big one is how likely is he to come into contact with an infected dog or a surface that has been in contact with an infected dog (no confirmed cases in state is safer, confirmed case in state is at greater risk).

So this represents my personal opinion, not a protocol supported by experts.  Your best resource in making a decision about whether to vaccinate or whether to do PA in your dog's current location and vaccination state is going to be your own vet because that is the person who has the expertise and the insider info about what is going on in the area and about your dog's individual heath.  For me, if there is a reported case in my state, I'm going to vaccinate before doing PA or even walking my dog in the neighborhood.  I'll vaccinate Tardis but not Ruby because Ruby rarely leaves home and our own fenced back yard.  She has no contact with other dogs directly or with their waste except dogs I know personally (like my sister's dog who loves to pee in our yard).  Right now, no reported cases in my state, so I'm not vaccinating and I'm not avoiding public outtings (PA or neighborhood walks).  I talked to a vet on Tuesday and that's what she's doing with her personal dogs at this time (not vaccinating yet) and I feel good that we appear to agree in the assessment at least for our locale/community of dog owners.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline BillBRNC

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Re: Flu Shots
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 07:38:36 AM »
Kristen, my Vet said this bad strain will survive on surfaces for up to two days, and that all a dog needs to do is sniff the area in order to get it. I think the same is true for the infected dog's poop and pee, but I can't remember for sure if the Vet said that or I'm making it up. Hard to know, because my memory is getting worse with the passage of time. We also live in a high tourist area, with many tourists from Florida, Texan and other parts of the deep South, and also many states in the North. We just have zillions of tourists during the summer months up here. Many have dogs, so our Vet is truly concerned about the bad strain because dogs apparently have no resistance to it. I just hope my Doc doesn't get sick again from the booster. Happy 4th to one and all. Bill.
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