What is the canine flu and should I have my dog vaccinated?

Canine influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that causes severe upper respiratory infections in dogs.  It is transmitted through contact with infected dogs and airborne exposure to coughing, sneezing and runny noses.  Contact with contaminated surfaces and items such as bowls and toys may also result in infection.  Signs of influenza include sneezing, persistent cough, runny nose, fever and lethargy.  Severe cases can develop into pneumonia. Because the flu is a newly emerging disease of canines, all dogs are at risk of exposure. Risk of infection is higher in areas where multiple dogs congregate, including dog parks, boarding kennels, grooming facilities and veterinary hospitals. Vaccines for canine influenza are now available and are the only way to protect your pet.