In the last two months within northern Nevada, there have been 80 new cases of canine influenza reported. Due to this increase, and for the health of all dogs, Nevada Humane Society is now offering the canine influenza vaccine at a weekly vaccine clinic for just $40. This vaccine is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Jack and Bonnie Grellman in memory of their son, Jon Scarlett Grellman. 

A low-cost vaccine clinic is held every Saturday at Nevada Humane Society in Reno, from 9am to 11am or in Carson City, every Friday from 3pm to 5pm. No appointments are required; walk-ins are welcome on a first-come, first served basis. The canine influenza vaccine is one of many offered; there are also vaccines for cats. All clinic details can be found online at www.NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

“While we don’t want to scare anyone, canine influenza is present in our community. It’s important to us to not only vaccinate every dog in our shelter, but to offer this to the public so that we can keep dogs healthy and safe,” said Kimberly Wade, Communications Director for Nevada Humane Society. “We recognize that this vaccine can be costly, so by offering it for a low cost we hope this will help more pet parents provide for their dogs.”

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the canine influenza, or dog flu, is highly contagious. Dogs of any breed, age or health status are at risk of infection when exposed, and infection can occur year round. Almost all dogs exposed will become infected and the majority of them develop flu-like symptoms. It is not contagious to people. Supportive care should be provided to keep the dog comfortable and medications may be necessary but most dogs recover within a few weeks.

If you’re a pet parent, here are the basics about the illness and how to protect your dog:

• Canine influenza is spread primarily through the air, so coughing and sneezing even 20 feet away can cause infection

• It can spread by people moving between an infected dog and uninfected dog or contaminated objects (bedding, food bowls, etc.)

• Signs of the illness range from mild to severe

• Symptoms include coughing, possible nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite and fever

• Secondary bacterial infections can also occur if not handled in a timely manner

• Talk to your vet (establish a relationship with a full-service, private vet if you don’t already have one) and see if the vaccine is right for your dog

• Wash your hands between dog-to-dog contact, and if you don’t have to, avoid petting other dogs 

• Avoid dog-friendly places, such as parks, daycares or other areas dogs may gather, as the virus can live outside of the host for up to 48 hours

For more information about Nevada Humane Society, call 775-856-2000.

(Nevada Humane Society)