Canine Flu Vaccination Letter

May 16, 2016

Dear Holiday Barn Customer,

We really appreciate you sharing your pet with us. We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to care for and play with so many dogs and cats. Everyone at Holiday Barn values your relationship and we look forward to each interaction.

Our pet community has become much more social, especially for dogs. Their lifestyles have become more humanized and they enjoy many social activities. Dogs visit shopping malls, restaurants, dog parks, neighborhood group walks, traveling long distances as well as visiting pet facilities such as Holiday Barn Pet Resorts. With all that socialization comes lots of fun and some health risks.

In 2004 we became aware of a dog flu virus, h3n8, that crossed over from a horse flu virus and into dogs. It was pocketed in Florida and the Northeast, mostly around horse racing areas. Unfortunately, that flu has progressed into many other communities. In 2015, another flu virus, h3n2, erupted in the Chicago area and impacted many dog and pet related areas. This strain is much more aggressive and has now spread to almost 30 states. For more information about h3n8 and h3n2 visit the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) website.

We have been actively tracking and learning more about both strains of the viruses as well as talking with our vet community on best practices. Until now, because there have been no confirmed cases in the Richmond area, we have not required these vaccinations. Confirmation of the flu is determined through a test that is similar to the human flu test, but most tests for dogs are conducted post-mortem. We do know the new flu virus – h3n2 – is spreading very rapidly. Because people are able to travel easily with their dogs, the virus is able to move quickly with them. Richmond is a fun travel destination, enjoying visitors from all over the U.S.

Therefore, in order to help keep your dog healthy and be proactive for our community, we will be requiring inoculations for both Canine Influenzas (h3n8 and h3n2) effective July 1, 2016. In order to test readiness, we verified with drug suppliers that they do have plenty of product available and we have notified our vet community of our new requirement.

For quick reference, the list of vaccinations that Holiday Barn requires currently for all of our dog services is:

  • Respiratory Bordetella
  • Distemper*
  • Parvo
  • Lepto*
  • Para-Influenza
  • Hepatitis or Adenovirus
  • Rabies

* We respect the unique medical needs of each pet and will accept modifications to vaccination requirements if documented and signed by your veterinarian as long as they are aware of your pet’s lifestyle.

Effective July 1, 2016, we will also require the Canine Flu vaccination for both h3n8 and h3n2 viruses.

Please keep in mind that illnesses like these are not localized in pet facilities. The flu viruses have been spread because dogs are traveling with their owners and visiting public places – dog parks, shopping malls, airplanes, etc. Places like Holiday Barn, unfortunately, are where they sometimes “land” and share the virus with even more dogs.

A few helpful hints:

  • Don’t panic. There have been no confirmed cases in the Richmond community. If your dog experiences a respiratory illness, you may want to consider having the flu test conducted. We’re hopefully ahead of the challenge. Being proactive is the best practice. Talk to your vet about all of your dog’s “social” activities and when you will be traveling, then schedule a time to have the vaccinations updated.
  • The vaccination process for the flu viruses takes two doses, separated by two to three weeks. We will accept dogs between doses. Please talk with your vet on best practices for puppies.
  • Pets must receive vaccinations at least 5 days prior to arrival at Holiday Barn – this allows the vaccines to achieve maximum effectiveness.
  • Look before you leap. If you visit doggie social areas, take the time to evaluate the population of dogs already there. Look for symptoms like coughing, wheezing, nasal discharge or lethargy. When in doubt, don’t go. This includes dog parks, dog events and social groups.
  • When at your vet’s office, do not allow your dog to interact with other dogs in the lobby. Dogs visit the vet in order to maintain good health or to be returned to good health – you do not know which dog is sick.
  • In public dog places, take your own water and bowl. Never let your dog drink after another dog at a pet event. Collapsible water bowls are easy to carry; take one with you if you frequent these areas or events.
  • If you compete with your dog at field trials, agility competitions, advanced obedience competitions, etc., see if the event hosts are requiring shot records. Remember, many of those dogs have TRAVELED great distances to those events. The virus is spread dog-to-dog and dog-to-surface.

At Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, we have stringent cleaning processes, using the most effective chemicals and consistent practices. We also strictly adhere to vaccination requirements in order to limit and control possible outbreaks so we can protect your pet. This new requirement is in line with us being a proactive part of our pet community so we can continue to execute our mission of Creating Joy in the lives of pets and their families.

We appreciate your understanding and hope you respect this decision. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.


Michael Hughes

“Head of the Pack”
Holiday Barn Pet Resorts
804-672-7295 ext. 103

Ryan Bretl
Facility Manager Glen Allen

Glenda Schroeder
Facility Manager Southside