Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) has been prevalent in the local news recently. Canine influenza, also known as “dog flu,” is a contagious virus that infects dogs (and cats), causing a respiratory infection similar to “kennel cough.” Most dogs will have mild flu-like symptoms, such as sneezing, nasal discharge, or coughing.

Almost all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and the majority (80% of infected dogs) develop flu-like illness. About 20% of dogs may become severely ill with pneumonia, and these dogs generally need hospitalization and supportive care to recover.

CIV is not contagious to people.

Canine influenza is just one of many possible causes of respiratory infection, so laboratory testing is necessary to definitively diagnose this virus. East Bay SPCA shelters do not have the resources to test every coughing dog for canine influenza.

Please contact your veterinarian if you are concerned that your dog may have canine influenza. Most dogs do not naturally have immunity to canine influenza virus. The risk of a dog being exposed to canine influenza depends on that dog’s lifestyle. Dogs that are regularly exposed to other dogs—for example at boarding or day care facilities, dog parks, grooming salons, dog shows, or social events with other dogs present—are at greater risk of coming into contact.

Shelter medicine specialists do not currently recommend giving the canine influenza virus vaccine in a shelter setting.


  • Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s risk of exposure and if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your dog
  • Avoid exposing your dog to obviously sick dogs
  • If there is a CIV outbreak in your area, avoid taking your dog to areas where dogs gather
  • If your dog shows signs of illness, isolate it from other dogs and seek veterinary care
  • Wash your hands after handling any dog and especially after handling a sick dog
  • Do not share equipment or toys between sick and apparently healthy dogs

Canine Influenza Virus Canine Influenza Virus can affect dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status.

For more information see:

Pet Owner’s Guide to Canine Influenza (AVMA)

Should my shelter be vaccinating dogs for Canine Influenza?

Canine Influenza Vaccine

The East Bay SPCA is offering the canine influenza vaccine for $25 per vaccine (given in a series of two vaccines three weeks apart). The vaccine is available at our  Theodore B. Travers Family Veterinary Clinic and also at our Drop-In Vaccine Clinics.

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The East Bay SPCA is a local non-profit that is not affiliated with any national organization. We obtained a four star rating from Charity Navigator and we participate in GuideStar Exchange at the Platinum level. The East Bay SPCA's Tax ID number is 94- 1322202.