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Nearly 1,400 Animal Shelters and Rescues, in Partnership With Veterinarians, Build Community Immunity Against Canine Influenza

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly one million doses of the NOBIVAC Canine Flu H3N8 vaccine were donated to approximately 1,400 animal shelters and rescue groups in 49 states as part of the "Building Community Immunity" Program, a joint effort between the Foundation and Merck Animal Health.   The grant was designed to help build community immunity against the canine influenza virus (CIV), better known as dog flu by encouraging vaccination of all adopted dogs and through wellness education and collaboration between the animal sheltering and local veterinary communities.  Each grant recipient received up to a four-month, two-dose per dog supply of the vaccine. 

Canine flu is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily from dog to dog, especially those in close proximity.  Nearly 100 percent of newly exposed dogs will contract the disease.  In a survey completed by grant recipients, 45 percent of respondents cited a decrease in canine coughing and 54 percent of the establishments saw an improvement in the overall health of the dogs as a result of the addition of the CIV vaccine.  More than half responded positively when asked if they intended to add the canine influenza vaccination to standard protocol.

"Vaccinating dogs in shelters and rescues is an important step to help build community immunity against canine influenza because they are adopted out into various locations and move from state to state," said Liz Neuschatz, Executive Director of the Foundation. "Thanks to the generosity of Merck Animal Health, thousands of rescue and shelter dogs across the country are protected against this highly contagious disease, which supports our efforts to keep them healthy and adoptable to provide greater assurance to adopting families."

Dog flu has been confirmed in 38 states and continues to be a growing problem throughout the U.S.  Dogs at risk include those in close proximity with other dogs, such as: shelters, rescue facilities, groomers, boarding kennels, dog shows, doggie daycare, training classes and those that travel.  Dogs vaccinated against Bordetella should also get the canine flu vaccine.  More information is available at

About Foundation

The Foundation was created in 2003 to respond to needs of its Petfinder member shelters and rescue groups and to assist them in ensuring that no pet is euthanized for lack of a home. The vaccine grant will help keep dogs healthy and adoptable.  Member organizations can visit for more information and a link to the grant application.

About Merck Animal Health

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit


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