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Published: April 13, 2015

In May 2009, the USDA approved the licensure of the first H3N8 canine influenza vaccine developed by Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Corporation.  There are currently two H3N8 CIV vaccines available; both are labeled as an aid in the control of the disease, and contain inactivated whole virus.  The vaccine is intended as an aid in the control of disease associated with CI virus infection.  Although the vaccine may not prevent infection altogether, efficacy trials have shown that the vaccination may significantly reduce the severity and duration of clinical illness. including the incidence and severity of damage to the lungs.  In addition, the vaccine reduces the amount of the virus shed and shortens the shedding interval; therefore, vaccinated dogs that become infected develop less severe illness and are less likely to spread the virus to other dogs.  These benefits are similar to those provided to influenza vaccines used in other species, including humans.  At this time, the possibility of cross-protection against H3N2 subtype from the H3N8 vaccine is unknown.  The canine influenza vaccine is a "lifestyle" vaccine, and is not recommended for every dog.  In general, the vaccine is intended for the protection of dogs at risk for exposure to the CI virus, which include those that either participate in activities with many other dogs or are housed in communal facilities, particularly where the virus is prevalent.  Dogs that may benefit from canine influenza vaccination include those that receive the kennel cough (Bordetella/parainfluenza) vaccine, because the risk groups are similar.  Dog owners should consult with the veterinarian to determine whether their dog's lifestyle includes risks for exposure to the CI virus, and if the vaccine is appropriate for their dog.