As you probably already know, the new canine flu strain (H3N2) is spreading rapidly throughout the United States since the first diagnosed case in Chicago. In Georgia, the state where I practice, many boarding facilities and shelters have had to close their doors to allow for decontamination because of the virus. Veterinary clinics statewide are seeing dozens of cases daily. Currently the only vaccine available is for the H3N8 strain which it is not known if it provides any protection against the newer strain.
Our veterinary clinic received information that at least two of the Canine Influenza vaccines manufacturers (Merck and Zoetis) may reimburse diagnostic and treatment costs for dogs diagnosed with the newer strain of the virus if they are properly vaccinated against H3N8. Below are some of the pre-requisites to be considered for reimbursement.
Qualifications for reimbursement
- Your dog must have tested positive for Canine flu through a qualified laboratory test not just by clinical signs alone.
- Your dog must have received vaccination based on the manufacturer’s recommended as listed below:
- The initial dose of vaccination was not given to your dog before 6 weeks of age.
- Your pet would have to receive at least 2 vaccines no more than 4 weeks apart with the initial vaccination protocol.
- Annual vaccination is required with the last vaccination no later than 1 year and 6 weeks apart.
- Coverage does not begin until 2 weeks after the initial 2 dose series.
Limitations for reimbursement
- They may cover dogs as a good will gesture until it is determined definitively that the H3N8 vaccine will not provide any protection against the H3N2 virus. Once that determination is made, they may exclude dogs with the H3N2 strain.
- To get complete coverage of costs, the vaccines that your dog received have to be by the same manufacturer you are seeking reimbursement from. Vaccines from a different manufacturer may result in reduced or no coverage for costs.
- There is a monetary cap for the costs. Zoetis may cover up to $1500 of qualified costs. Merck may cover up to $5000 of qualified costs.
My dog may qualify for this what do I do?
If you feel you dog may qualify for a reimbursement, talk to your veterinary office for more information.