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Animal Attraction: USDA Grants Full License to Canine Influenza Virus Vaccine

by Stacy Fox

Posted on June 22, 2010 at 6:04 AM

The first vaccine against canine influenza virus (CIV), Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8, has been granted a full license by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

CIV is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by an influenza A virus, H3N8. In 2004, Cynda Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D., University of Florida, Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, and Edward J. Dubovi, Ph.D., Professor of Virology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, along with their colleagues, were the first to discover that the spread of the respiratory disease in the general dog population was caused by CIV.

Nearly one million doses of the vaccine have been sold to veterinary clinics and shelters throughout the U.S. during the past year. The USDA approval confirms the safety and effectiveness of Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8, which has been shown to significantly decrease the signs, severity and spread of CIV infection.

“Like influenza vaccines used in other species,” said Dr. Crawford, “the canine influenza vaccine does not prevent infection; however, it significantly reduces clinical disease and the risk for pneumonia, and vaccinated dogs shed much less virus so they are less contagious to other dogs. Vaccine-induced protection is not only important to the health and welfare of individual dogs, but also decreases the likelihood of an influenza outbreak in a population if most of the dogs are vaccinated.”

According to Terri Wasmoen, Ph.D., an immunologist and senior director of Biological Research for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, “The vaccine is useful not only against CIV but also in helping control a complex of potentially serious canine infectious respiratory diseases that may be secondary to CIV.”

Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, recommends vaccination for dogs at risk: “In general, any dog that is in a closed room with other dogs for at least six hours or more can be considered at risk, particularly those that are boarded frequently, go to dog shows, dog day-care and training classes or are in shelters.”  “Other dogs that may be at risk include those in rescue groups and those that travel with families, particularly to endemic areas, are housed in breeder facilities or belong to animal healthcare personnel,” said Dr. Crawford.

Cases of canine influenza have been identified in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Click here for more information about Canine influenza virus (CIV)  or download a brochure for pet owners

Source:  Intervet/Schering-Plough Press Release