We all know that humans can get the flu, but did you know your dog can catch the flu virus too? Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) – or dog flu –has been popping up all over the country. The Canine Influenza Virus can make dogs very sick and with a fatality rate of 20%, it is the deadliest of all upper respiratory diseases in dogs.
There are two strains of canine influenza – H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N8 strain has been around for several years but H3N2, an Asian strain of CIV, is brand new in the United States, which means dogs have not been exposed to it before and have no immunity. A dog may have the Canine Influenza Virus for up to 24 days, which means they are contagious and spreading the disease throughout that time. Consequently, the infection can spread quickly among social dogs in inner cities, doggie daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks, sporting and show events and any location where dogs commingle.
Canine Influenza identified in the Atlanta Area
National veterinary officials have reported cases of Canine Influenza H3N2 associated with recent dog shows in Florida and Georgia. As of June 2017, confirmed cases have been reported in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia.
Because of this outbreak, we encourage you to be extra vigilant in preventing canine influenza. If you suspect your pet has canine influenza, keep them away from all other pets. This disease spreads very easily, so keep your pet at home if they’re showing symptoms and call Animal Hospital of Sandy Springs immediately. The H3N2 virus is extremely contagious and can be spread easily by direct contact with infected dogs (sniffing, licking, nuzzling), through the air (coughing, barking or sneezing), and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls, leashes and clothing.
Common symptoms of canine influenza include:
- Rapid breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Thick, greenish nasal discharge
To help prevent the spread of canine influenza, please consider vaccinating your dog against the virus immediately. Call Animal Hospital of Sandy Springs at 404-991-2943 to schedule your pet’s vaccination today.