Canine Flu (Canine Influenza) has been recently reported in Asheville and Winston-Salem.
Canine Influenza is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted between dogs. Transmission can be spread by infected dogs through direct contact, coughing and sneezing, or by indirect contact like food/water bowls, or clothing that has been exposed to infected dogs.
Signs are similar to “Kennel Cough” in that there is mild coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge. One difference that seems to help differentiate it from Kennel Cough is lethargy and fever. (Normal rectal temperature in a dog can run 100-102F, so we are likely looking over 102F in a calm dog)
- Most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks, though a small number of cases can develop into a more serious pneumonia.
- 20-25% of dogs do NOT have ANY clinical signs but can spread it to other dogs.
- Death is very Rare with mortality rates of 5 in 1,000 of confirmed cases.
- No evidence that people can get Canine Influenza (According to Centers for Disease Control).
To Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate
There is a Canine Influenza vaccine, though it was made for a different strain of the influenza that is being seen in recent outbreak. There is question as to whether it provided ANY protection to this new strain. If your dog is boarded frequently or goes to doggie-daycare, please talk to your veterinarian as to whether this vaccine is appropriate for your dog.
There is a test that can be sent off by your veterinarian to confirm that upper respiratory signs are Canine Influenza (H3N2 strain). Please discuss with your veterinarian if this test is right for your dog.
More information can be found at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineInfluenza.aspx