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Considerations for Use of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) Vaccine


Authors: Dr. Erica Schumacher
Document Type: FAQs
Topics: Infectious Disease
Species: Canine

Dr. Schumacher helps clear up some questions surrounding the Canine Influenza Virus vaccine.


I am working in California near the current canine influenza outbreak and have received some questions from the public as well as local sheltering organizations about the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) vaccination. I’m hoping you can help me answer them. 


  1. I am worried about giving our dog the CIV vaccine because it might make our dog sick.  Is that possible? 
  2. I have heard the Bordetella vaccine needs to be given separately from CIV. Is that true? 
  3. We need to wait a week after we give the CIV vaccine to adopt or transfer out dogs to give the vaccine time to work. Right? 


Thank you for reaching out and for all you are doing to help the animals in your community! I would be happy to help clear up any confusion surrounding the canine influenza vaccine.  


To start with, here is some important background on the vaccine:


  • The vaccine does not provide complete protection (aka sterile immunity), it provides partial protection, meaning it can decrease the severity of clinical signs and shorten the duration of shedding of the virus but will NOT prevent infection or transmission to other dogs.  
  • It is an inactive (killed) vaccine. It requires a second vaccine (“booster”) 2-4 weeks after the first vaccine. 
  • Onset of (partial) immunity is 4-6 weeks after the first vaccine was given.  This is why the CIV is not a recommended core vaccine in shelters since dogs are likely to be exposed prior to the onset of immunity and the goal is for dogs to be out of the shelter before they can receive the second vaccine.  There has not been any benefit shown from only receiving the first vaccine; it must be part of the completed series. 
  • Read more about using the CIV vaccine in shelters in our FAQ on the subject.

Now, specifically to answer your questions: 


1. I am worried about giving our dog the CIV vaccine because it might make our dog sick. Is that possible? 


Because the CIV vaccine is inactive, it does not cause mild illness as can be seen in other types of vaccines (i.e. the Bordetella vaccine is a modified-live vaccine and can cause mild respiratory signs for a few days post-vaccination). That being said, if a dog was exposed to CIV before the first vaccine was given or anytime while they are building immunity (the four to six weeks after the initial vaccine) they can still become infected and get sick. However, this has nothing to do with the fact that the dog was vaccinated.   


2. I have heard that the Bordetella vaccine needs to be given separately from CIV. Is that true?


The Bordetella vaccine does not need to be given separately from CIV. There is no harm in giving them at the same time and no benefit from spacing them out. Vaccination for other components of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (Bordetella and Parainfluenza) is strongly recommended on or prior to shelter intake to reduce other causes of respiratory infections. 


3. We need to wait a week after we give the CIV vaccine to adopt or transfer out dogs to give the vaccine time to work. Right? 


As mentioned above, the CIV vaccine requires a “booster” 2-4 weeks after the first vaccine and will not “work” for at least 4 weeks after the first one is given. Waiting to remove a dog from a shelter (whether via adoption, transfer or foster) only serves to increase the chance they are exposed to and will contract a disease (CIV or other). The best course of action is to minimize time in the shelter or avoiding it altogether if possible. This can be accomplished through regular well-organized communication between shelters, rescue partners, and community members. It is particularly crucial that everyone works together to provide the best outcome for the animals involved. 


I hope this is helpful, feel free to get in touch if you have further questions! 



University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program

Erica Schumacher, DVM
Outreach Veterinarian 
Shelter Medicine Program
University of Wisconsin – School of Veterinary Medicine