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Here are the signs of 'dog flu'

American Kennel Club photo

As presented on Pet Pals TV, here's information on canine influenza:

1) Canine Influenza virus is an upper respiratory pathogen of dogs. Currently, two strains of CIV are circulating in our dog population, the H3N8 strain, which jumped from horses in the early 21st century and the H3N2 strain which came to the US in 2015. Both strains can also affect ferrets and the H3N2 strain can occasionally impact cats as well.

2) Symptoms of CIV include similar to most other upper respiratory disease and may include a cough, reduced appetite, fever, occasional sneezing, and discharge from the eyes or nose. While most cases of this disease are mild, some can develop into pneumonia. The fatality rate is less than 2% and many dogs make a recovery within a few weeks.

3) Transmission occurs through direct contact of the respiratory secretions of an infected dog. The dog may or may not be symptomatic. Even dogs without clinical signs can transmit the virus up to about 20 feet away through aerosols and droplets.

4) In recent months, several states have reported outbreaks of canine influenza, specifically the H3N2 strain. As of this posting, 15 states had laboratory confirmed cases of H3N2 in dogs. Most of the cases are occurring in the South, with Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina being hardest hit.

5) Since H3N2 is still fairly new to the US, many dogs have never been exposed to the disease nor have they been vaccinated for it. This means that routine trips to the grooming salon, dog park, doggie day care centers, the pet store, or even your veterinary office could increase your pet’s risk for contracting the flu.

6) Thankfully, there are effective vaccinations that can cover both strains of the flu and help minimize the course of the disease as well as the transmission from dog to dog. Unfortunately, the recent outbreaks in several states, along with a recall from one of the vaccine manufacturers recently has stressed the vaccine supply.

7) At this time, only two companies manufacturer USDA approved canine flu vaccines here in the US. Both companies are reporting an issue with sourcing components and this means that the vaccine may not be available for your pet, especially if he/she has never had the vaccine in the past.

8) If your area of the country is experiencing an outbreak, it might be wise to avoid taking your pet to certain venues, like dog parks or doggie day care. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s risk factors as well as local availability of the vaccine


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