The recent outbreak of canine influenza in the Midwest has made headlines as over 1,000 dogs have been affected. I thought I would review what we know about the outbreak. This strain of influenza is caused by the H3N2 virus. It is an airborne virus, but can be passed on hands, clothing, and bowls. 4 out of 5 dogs exposed will become sick. Symptoms begin 2 to 4 days after exposure. Symptoms last for 2 weeks.
Dogs cough, have a high fever, runny nose and eyes, sore throat, decreased appetite and lethargy.
The virus can last on hands for 12 hours, and 24 hours on clothing. Unlike the human influenza virus, there is no evidence that this is seasonal. Treatment is symptomatic, as there is no treatment for the virus. 10% of the dogs may go on to develop pneumonia, which would be treated with antibiotics. The current influenza vaccine does not prevent this outbreak of influenza, as it is a different virus. Currently, this has not spread outside the Midwest area, but obviously care is needed if you take your dog to dog shows or events where people and their dogs are traveling from out of state. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health, please do not hesitate to contact our staff so we can answer your questions.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.