Canine influenza is a virus that is highly infectious and spreads quickly from dog to dog.
The virus can be transmitted:
- Directly from dog to dog
- From airborne transmission (one dog coughing or sneezing)
- From contact with contaminated objects or
- From people touching infected dogs and then touching other dogs.
There are two strains H3N8 which was first reported in 2003 and H3N2 which was first reported in 2015. Neither of these strains have been shown to be contagious to people.
These are respiratory viruses, different from the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough) and from the respiratory virus parainfluenza (part of the DHLPP vaccine).
1 out of 5 infected dogs will develop severe symptoms. Infection with canine influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be fatal.
- The symptoms can be similar to many other respiratory diseases.
- Coughing- dry hacking or productive coughing (wet saliva or yellow phlegm)
- Nasal discharge- maybe clear, but often yellow or green mucous
- Tired or lethargic
- Poor appetite
Diagnosis can be challenging because many respiratory infections have similar symptoms. Nasal and oral swabs are submitted, often along with blood samples. The blood sample may be repeated 10 days later, depending on initial test results.
Treatment is aimed at supportive care and preventing further spread. Hospitalization in an Isolation ward, IV fluids for hydration, antibiotics for secondary infections, and other medications as needed.
Vaccinate your dogs against Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). At Barnside Veterinary Hospital, we use a vaccine that protects against both strains H3N8 and H3N2. Dogs receive an initial vaccine and then a booster approximately 3 weeks later. We recommend annual boosters.
---Meredith L. Weltner-Sharin VMD