We humans aren’t the only ones feeling the pain of flu. Dogs can get the flu, too, and need flu vaccines for Dogs.
Scientists at the University of Rochester have for the first time developed two new flu vaccines for dogs – canines influenza virus, which may also block flu strains from being transmitted and infecting people. This hasn’t happened yet, but experts say it’s possible.
Today, veterinarians use flu vaccines for dogs that include inactivated or killed flu virus, but experts say they provide short-term, limited protection.
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Past research shows that live-attenuated flu vaccines for dogs, made from live flu virus that is dampened down so that it doesn’t cause the flu, provide better immune responses and longer periods of protection.
The scientists created two “live-attenuated” vaccines against H3N8 canine influenza virus, which is currently circulating in dogs in the U.S.
In the study, the researchers used reserve genetics to create a live vaccine against H3N8 canine influenza virus that replicates in the nose but not in the lungs.
“The nose is where the virus first enters a dog’s body, so generating an immune response there could stop the virus in its tracks,” said led researcher Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Ph.D.
“If the vaccines were to get into the lungs, it could create unwanted inflammation in response to the live virus,” Martinez-Sobrido said.
The study found the live flu vaccines for dogs were safe and able to induce better immune protection against H3N8 canine influenza virus in mice and dog tracheal cells than a commercially available inactivated vaccine.
In a second study highlighted in the journal Virology the researchers used reserve genetics to remove a protein called NS1 from H3N8 canine influenza virus. Deleting the NS1 viral protein significantly weakens flu viruses so that they elicit an immune response but don’t cause illness.
This approach has been used with human, swine and equine flu viruses to generate potential vaccines and was also safe and more effective than a traditional inactivated H3N8 influenza vaccine in mice and dog tracheal cells, the researchers said.
The live-attenuated vaccines will now be included for clinical trials with dogs, the researchers said.