Back

Get started

Customized by You

Design your pet’s plan in less than 60 seconds.

Dog laying on vet table receiving an influenza vaccine

New vaccine protects against both strains of flu

Q: A neighbor’s dog brought influenza home from an out-of-state dog show. Should I have my dog vaccinated for influenza?

A: Veterinary experts say dogs that travel to shows are at greatest risk of influenza and pet dogs with little exposure to other dogs are at lowest risk. Discuss your dog’s lifestyle with your veterinarian, who can advise you about whether to vaccinate.

Some veterinarians recommend vaccinating dogs at low risk to increase herd immunity. The concept is that if most dogs are protected, the chance of an unvaccinated dog contracting and spreading the disease is low.

Keep in mind that the US has two strains of influenza – H3N8 and H3N2 – and three vaccine options: an H3N8 vaccine, an H3N2 vaccine, and a new bivalent vaccine that incorporates both strains. Since neither single-strain vaccine confers immunity against the other strain, many veterinarians prefer the bivalent vaccine.

These vaccines reduce the severity of the disease, though they don’t prevent infection or viral transmission from dog to dog. The virus is transmitted through contact with an infected dog’s nasal secretions and saliva, both before clinical signs begin and during illness.

Clinical signs range from coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge to lethargy, fever and pneumonia. A small number of dogs have died of influenza.

Your best source of advice about your own dog is your veterinarian.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

More From Figo Blog
Puppy crate training in progress

There are many tools I utilize when training...

You may have heard the phrase, “Cats can’t...

Man holding sick cat while chatting with veterinarian on mobile phone

Technology has made getting quick access to...

Labrador Retriever retrieving a blue frisbee from the yard

One of the best things about owning a dog is...

Pet Professionals: Interview With Kristen Levine Pet Blogger | Figo Pet Insurance

We recently had the opportunity to interview...

If you have extra time these days, perhaps...

Looking to add a new, furry family member to...

Hospitable Houston Texas Welcomes People And Pets

Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US,...