Canine Influenza Virus
According to the American Kennel Club, there are recently confirmed cases of the Canine Influenza Virus H3N2 strain. This virus was first identified in Chicago during the spring of 2015. The most recent outbreaks have been in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. As of June 30, 2017, more than 82 dogs in Florida have become infected with the virus and at least four of these dogs have died, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Canine Influenza Virus
Also known as Canine Flu, this highly contagious airborne disease is easily spread among dogs. The virus is spread when dogs are in close proximity to an infected dog, as it can travel up to 20 feet. Because of this, the virus is easily spread at boarding and grooming facilities, dog parks, and dog shows. The virus can also spread through contaminated items, such as crates, clothing, bowls, etc. It can live for up to 24 hours on soft surfaces and up to 48 hours on hard surfaces.
Because Canine Influenza is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not built up a natural immunity to it. Therefore, a majority of dogs are susceptive to the infection when they are exposed. Approximately 80 percent of dogs will show symptoms, while almost 20 percent will not show symptoms but will still shed the virus and spread the infection.
The symptoms of Canine Influenza include a dry, hacking cough that is similar to kennel cough, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and discharge from the nose or eyes. Some dogs may contract the virus but not show any symptoms; however, they will still shed the disease. A majority of dogs will show clinical signs within 24 to 48 hours and then shed the virus for up to 28 days after exposure.
The best protection for Canine Influenza is vaccination. Because it isn’t possible to know where the virus will show up next, vaccination should be considered for all dogs. The vaccine requires two doses, so dogs can’t be successfully vaccinated in the middle of an outbreak. In order to prevent the virus, dogs should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
As always, it’s a good idea to disinfect and keep everything sanitized. Remember that stainless steel food and water bowls are easier to keep sanitized because plastic can be hard to fully disinfect if it becomes scratched. When handling dogs, make sure to wash your hands frequently. To stop the virus from spreading, be sure to isolate sick animals for up to 30 days after they’ve started showing symptoms.
There is a new vaccine called Nobivac® Canine Flu Bivalent vaccine. This vaccine aids in the control of disease associated with both Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) H3N2 and CIV H3N8. It can be given to puppies at 7 weeks of age with 2 doses administered 2 to 4 weeks apart. The annual revaccination is 1 dose.
If you think that one of your dogs has the virus, it’s best to immediately isolate him from other animals and to contact your veterinarian. If left untreated, the virus may lead to pneumonia or other health problems. With proper treatment, most dogs will recover within 2 to 3 weeks.
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.