Last March, Intermountain Pet Hospital decided to require canine flu vaccinations for all dogs staying at our Lodge and Day Camp. Over the past few months, some clients and fellow veterinary professionals have asked why we did this. We’d like to address those inquires and concerns here.
Before we made this change, IPH researched and considered several factors:
- Our main reason for requiring the vaccine is that dogs at IPH can run a greater risk of exposure to canine influenza (CI). I’ll explain. At our hospital, we do a lot of work with show and competition dogs. Because of this, we attract a client base that travels extensively for competitions and dog shows. These clients will often board some of their dogs here while traveling and showing others. These shows put our dogs in contact with a lot of other dogs, some of whom may well be infected. This places our facility at a higher risk of CI exposure. It’s imperative that we take every possible step to prevent a CI outbreak, especially since we also help a lot of pregnant dogs and puppies.
- Lately, the threat of CI has gotten a little too close to home. Cases of canine flu have been reported in Washington, Montana and Rigby, Idaho. This makes the need to guard against a CI outbreak all the more urgent.
- The CI vaccine is extremely safe. IPH has been giving it for over a year, and as far as we know, none of our dogs has had a negative reaction to the vaccine.
- Since its release, the CI vaccine has become much cheaper. Since it’s easily affordable, requiring it for our boarding, day camp and grooming facility seemed even more appropriate.
Everyone at IPH knew that some clients might get upset over this decision. We knew that we might even lose some clients. We certainly respect everyone’s opinion on these matters. With that said, we feel that the benefits of requiring the vaccine greatly outweigh the drawbacks. Thankfully, most of our clients appreciate our vaccination requirement and feel that it makes our boarding facility safer.
I’d like to stress this again: We did NOT do this to make money. In fact, we’ll probably lose money by only charging our costs. However, we’re more than willing to take that loss in order to keep our animals safe and healthy.
Here’s one more point about the cost of the vaccine. In case you didn’t know, the Board of Veterinary Medicine requires an exam within 90 days of any vaccinations. If your dog’s just boarding with us and has already had an exam within that timeframe, your regular vet can send us a script granting us permission to administer the vaccine under their supervision. No extra exam, no extra charge. You just pay us the regular fee for the vaccine and that’s it.
So, to sum all this up: IPH made the CI vaccine a requirement because it’s safe, it’s affordable and it’s necessary. If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them.
Dr. Brett Bingham