I just finished reading many sources of information on Dog Flu. I find that the article, in the link, is one of the best to explain all the details.
My take on the subject: I will vaccinate my dog but I am not in a panic to do so. Because the virus will cause mild fever and illness in 80-90 % of dogs. The young, old and already ill dogs are at risk of becoming more seriously ill. There has been one confirmed case in WI as of today.
Vaccinating WI dogs now, before the outbreak in So WI, will slow and eventually stop or prevent a serious outbreak. So vaccinate your dog. Avoid groups of dogs until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of vaccine. Such as; dog parks, doggie daycare, training centers, pet stores, shows, even your neighborhood walk, where every dog pees and sniffs, and dog sport events.
If you have a puppy in classes (which are essential for good behavioral health) avoid adult dogs, or where adults frequent, and wash your hands frequently. Bring your own bowls for water and food for the puppy, do not share. Interview the facility staff to find out if they are disinfecting everything, everyday:
1. With solutions that kill viruses on contact (2-3% bleach or full strength Lysol)
2. Floors, walls, gates, toys, and other surfaces every day.
3. Do they keep puppy areas separate, include the entrance and potty areas from access by adult dogs. If not carry your puppy into the puppy area.
4. Exclude dogs with a fever from classes.
Other tips to think about:
Be kind to service dogs and do not touch them. The fact is that many infected dogs, have no symptoms except a fever. If you’re like me, and enjoy petting every dog you encounter, you can easily spread the virus from one infected dog to another. This is the reason the Federal law prohibits touching service dogs.
Avoid the daily neighborhood walk and exercise your dogs at home, away from where dogs enter your yard, until you have vaccine immunity established.
When you have to go into public areas, prevent your dog from sniffing or licking objects, floors, including outside areas and other dogs. The virus can live for 12 to 24 hours in environment. Have treats on hand, distract your dog with a treat to the end of the nose and give the treat when your dog stops going for the sniff.
For your pets safety at home: If you do touch dogs, or visit friends with dogs that are in the outside world (or they touch you), wash your hands, arms and change clothes including shoes, immediately when you enter your house, before touching things and especially your dog.
I have jackets, jeans or wind pants that I wear for outdoor dog activities. When I get home, I walk directly to the laundry room, strip off my outer layer of clothes, and wash them. I remove my outside shoes and dip them in a half filled bucket of water with a dash of bleach, enough liquid to cover the shoes to the top edge. My outside dog shoes are bleach hardy. Next, I wash my hands & arms up to my elbows plus sometimes my face, with foamy soap. The more bubbles the more the soap will kill viruses.
The vaccine takes 2 shots to produce protective immunity – 14 days after the 2nd shot. Vaccine immunity in dogs will reduce the severity of illness. If your dog gets the flu, once recovered most dogs will have excellent immunity for 1 year. Expect the information to change next year.
BTW – Tamiflu is not recommended for dogs. Has more risks than benefit. If you suspect that your dog has the flu, supportive care is the best treatment. Take your dog to your vet as soon as you recognize the symptoms. Tell the receptionist that you suspect flu, so the staff can advise you how to keep your dog separated from other dogs arriving at the clinic.