Canine Influenza

posted: by: BVC Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

The canine influenza virus is out there and has the potential to spread further with people and pets traveling over the summer. Canine Influenza Virus was recently diagnosed at the Humane Society in Madison and Green Bay also has had an outbreak. Since the outbreak of the new strain of flu virus in Chicago last spring, when over 1000 dogs came down with sudden coughing and respiratory illness and 6 dogs died, the H3N2 virus has been found in 25 states.  The old strain of flu virus, H3N8, has been identified in 41 states.  If your dog has an active, social, mobile life style, you may want to vaccinate your pet to help protect them from canine flu and other infectious respiratory infections.  Here is what you need to know about dog flu:

There are NO CASES of FLU in Barron County at this time!

Why are we concerned?

100% of dogs that are exposed to the Canine Influenza Virus will be infected because our dogs have no immunity to the virus.

The vaccination for CIV takes 4 weeks to reach immunity, which means starting the vaccine series after the virus has reached this area will be too late for it to offer any protection.

How dangerous is the Influenza Virus?

80 % of dogs will show symptoms which include:
  • Coughing
  • Discharge from the eyes and nose
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Lethargy
Dog Flu Warning Signs
  • 10-20% of dogs do not show any symptoms even though they are infected.  They are still contagious to other dogs.
  • 10% of the dogs that are sick develop more serious complications like pneumonia.
  • 1-5% of infected dogs have died.
  • Most dogs recover in one to three weeks, while some will need veterinary supportive care.

Is my dog at risk?

It depends. Socially active dogs that visit dog parks, kennels, groomers and training classes are at the greatest risk for exposure. CIV is highly contagious and can be spread by direct contact with respiratory discharge from infected dogs through the air via a cough, bark, or sneeze, and by contact with contaminated objects such as dog bowls, clothing and hands.

What should I know about the Canine Influenza Vaccination?

  • There is a vaccine available for the original strain of influenza (H3N8). The CIV vaccine will shorten the duration and severity of disease due to H3N8.
  • A new strain of influenza virus (H3N2) was discovered in the Chicago outbreak in 2015 . This strain has not previously been seen in North America. It has been seen in Korea and China. There is now vaccine for the H3N2 strain. Vaccination will not prevent the flu 100%.  Like flu in people, it will mean less severe disease with a faster recovery.

Should My Dog Get a “FLU SHOT”?

  • Talk to your veterinarian.
  • This is a “Lifestyle Vaccination.” If your dog is in the high risk category for potential exposure you may want to be proactive and vaccinate for H3N8 and H3N2 flu virus. 
  • Dogs in the “social, high risk for exposure” should also be up to date with their other vaccinations including the “kennel cough” (bordetella) vaccination!

Can humans get dog flu?
No, but cats can contract the new H3N2 strain. However, this is very rare.

Should I avoid the dog park and boarding kennel?

  • No. At this time there have been NO CASES of canine influenza in Barron County. We may never see Canine Influenza in our community!
  • It is just better to be aware, informed and ready should we ever have to deal with this virus.
  • Enjoy your summer and your dog :)

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