What to Do about Canine Flu

An outbreak of canine influenza (dog flu) was documented in North Carolina in June and because of that, we want to make everyone aware of its potential impact.

The canine influenza virus is an influenza A virus which is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, leashes, collars) and by people moving between infected and non-infected animals.

Almost all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected and the majority of dogs (80 percent of infected dogs) develop flu-like illness.

Currently, two strains of dog flu have been identified--the H3N8, first identified in 2004 in Florida, and the H3N2, identified in 2015 in an outbreak in Chicago.

Dogs of all ages, breed and sex are at risk when exposed to the virus which is present year round. At this time, canine influenza does not appear to be contagious to people.

Symptoms of canine influenza range from mild to severe and include:
-Coughing
-Sneezing
-Nasal or eye discharge
-Loss of energy
-Reduced appetite
-Fever

As with any disease, prevention is by far the best treatment. Canine vaccination is available and is recommended for dogs that are at high risk for exposure. High risk dogs include those that attend day camp/day care, dog parks, boarding facilities, dog shows and grooming salons.

Vaccination against canine influenza consists of two vaccines that are given two to three weeks apart. Both vaccinations must be given to provide adequate protection.

If your dog is showing flu-like symptoms like those listed above, do not take your dog to public places. Contact Tuscan Ridge Animal Hospital at 919-556-1944 for guidance on how best to care for your dog. We're here to help!

For additional information about dog flu, please visit these online resources:
DogInfluenza.com
American Veterinary Medicine Association