The H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (H3N2 CIV) can easily be spread amongst dogs, especially in places like Canada where dogs haven’t built up a natural immunity. The risk is higher in densely populated communities. H3N2 CIV is highly contagious and has recently been popping up around Ontario.
As of March 22nd, H3N2 CIV has not made its way to the City of Toronto. However, this virus has been diagnosed in regions surrounding the City. There have been cases discovered in Northumberland, Muskoka, Orillia and Windsor. Experts are recommending that dogs in areas where the infection has been diagnosed, and those nearby, should be vaccinated. The current recommendation is to focus vaccination efforts on dogs at higher risk for infection. Dogs at higher risk include dogs in shelters and dogs that go to groomers, kennels or dog parks. The vaccine reduces the likelihood of a dog getting sick with influenza and those that still get sick will have milder clinical signs and a shorter illness.