Outbreak of canine flu prompting vaccinations

MILPITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- An outbreak of H3N2 canine influenza is being tracked closely by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, with cases across the South Bay and up the Peninsula as far as Belmont.

It is so contagious that the shelter and adoption agency is vaccinating about 300 dogs at its facility and in foster care to halt its spread.

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There have been no cases of the canine flu at the facility. As a safety measure, signs are posted outside its Ames Ave. Buildings in Milpitas for the public not to bring dogs into the facility.

Canine flu is rarely fatal, but it can spread easily to other dogs from sneezing, coughing and shedding. Two rounds of vaccinations are required to immunize dogs. A first shot is followed by another two to four weeks later. Then it takes another two weeks for the vaccine to protect the dog.

That means there is an active window now in which dogs are not protected, even if a first shot is given today.

For that reason, veterinarian Cristie Kamiya at Humane Society of Silicon Valley urges caution about dogs mingling at parks. HSSV is serving as a data collection point to track reports of the canine flu in the area from local veterinarians.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says there has been no reported case of canine flu transmission to humans.

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