Pets’ vaccinations, (vax), have gotten a lot of attention in the news lately. It’s a topic that’s always of interest to pet owners, especially when the stories are bad ones.
Dog flu cases have been reported in the US in recent months and has picked up in Europe this year. (source)
It appears that the first flu vaccine for dogs has been available for some time now in the US. While it’s not nearly as good as the human version for dogs, it’s pretty darn good.
Another concern, recently, is that bird flu viruses (the H5N1 strain) can also make their way into dog stool (hence all the talk of dog feces being a potential vaccine pathogen).
Why Don’t We Have a Vaccine for Pets?
Currently, the only vaccine specifically formulated for dogs is squalene-based, given to dogs in two shot series (1x every 5 months and 2x every 6 months). This vaccine is effective against mumps, measles, rabies, and tularemia (a form of pneumonia) and is important for those who live with or have dogs in many remote locales. Unfortunately, it doesn’t protect against bird or swine flu viruses or other strains for which there are no vaccines currently available for dogs.
This gives the WHO a big whack in its attempt to develop a vaccine for dogs. Earlier this year, the WHO announced plans to work with over 20 international vaccine-making companies to produce a vaccine to eradicate foot and mouth disease (FMD). The WHO estimates that this effort will cost more than $1 billion dollars to complete.
In the meantime, it remains the case that for your pet’s own good, keep your pet away from other dogs. If he or she does develop this disease, you might want to consider having him or her vaccinated. You don’t want to jump to conclusions and find out he or she is actually infected. Also, since our pets can be carriers of these diseases, I would avoid bringing any goods into your home or onto your property. Also, if an infected dog has a diarrhea you should consider taking him or her to the vet immediately.
What About Treatment?
You can at least follow the directions on your veterinarian’s website and get your dog treated if they test positive for any of these (or other) vaccines. Dogs can be treated with IV fluids, dyes, bandaids, and antibiotics, etc.