Canine Influenza

posted: by: Dr. Groulx Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

There is a strain of canine influenza (dog flu) circulating in the southeast.  The current influenza strain is H3N2.  This illness recently emerged in Florida at a dog show.  Cases have been identified in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Missouri.  The virus is contagious through direct contact, airborne exposure and contact with contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of influenza include cough, fever, and lethargy.  Dogs typically become ill within 2 - 7 days of exposure but may be able to transmit the virus prior to the onset of symptoms.  Many dogs that are exposed to the virus will become ill but some dogs could develop severe illness.  The dogs that are at risk for severe illness are puppies, old dogs and dogs that are in poor overall health.  If you think that your dog may have canine influenza please contact us immediately.  It is important that infected dogs receive supportive care and be isolated from other animals for 3 - 4 weeks to prevent further spread of the virus.
The best way to prevent severe illness and help stop this virus from spreading is vaccination.  Two vaccines given 3 weeks apart are necessary to provide protection from this virus.  Though the vaccine may not prevent the illness completely, it will decrease the severity of symptoms and decrease the amount of time that your dog is contagious to other pets.
The vaccine is recommended for dogs that frequently have contact with other dogs.  This includes dogs who attend dog shows, canine performance events, dog parks, doggy daycare and boarding facilities.
Due to lack of sanitation and potential for exposure to sick dogs, we recommend avoiding dog parks for the next few months.  In addition, if your dog regularly attends doggy daycare at multiple facilities we ask that you pick one facility at this time to minimize the potential spread of this virus.
If you have any questions about canine influenza or want to schedule your dog for the vaccination please contact our office.