Dr. Jennifer has compiled a short information brief about Canine Influenza.
Hopefully this will answer any questions you may have.
What is Canine Influenza?
Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection. It is caused by Influenza Virus A subtype H3N8 which is (most likely) a mutated form of a horse influenza.
What are the symptoms of Canine Influenza?
1) Mild Symptoms
i) Mild moist cough
ii) Possible low fever
iii) Possible nasal discharge (from secondary bacteria)
2) Serious Symptoms
i) Severe deep cough
ii) Persistent fever
iii) Difficulty breathing
iv) Possible pneumonia
Most healthy adult dogs will only show mild symptoms. Older or immune compromised dogs may develop serious symptoms. The symptoms of dog flu can last from 10 to 30 days even with aggressive supportive treatment.
How is Canine Influenza spread? Am I (or my cat) at risk?
Canine Influenza is highly contagious to other dogs and appears to be spread through the air from infected respiratory secretions. Any dog that is housed near an infected dog is at risk.
Canine Influenza is contagious to other dogs but humans do not appear to be affected by the virus. It does not appear cats are at risk either.
Can Canine Influenza be treated?
Since it is a virus, there is no treatment. We treat the symptoms and secondary bacterial infections caused by the virus. This may be as minor as cough medications and oral antibiotics or require aggressive I.V. fluids and medications.
What can I do to prevent Canine Influenza?
The only way to truly prevent the virus is to prevent any exposure. However, there is a vaccine available that can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms. If your dog spends time around other unknown dogs (boarding kennels, day care, grooming facilities, etc.), you should consider the vaccine.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!