By Dr. Colleen McCafferty, Chief of Staff & Veterinarian
Canine Flu is highly contagious, infecting approximately 80% of dogs that come in contact with the disease. A case of the H3N8 canine flu virus was recently confirmed locally in Columbia, MD.
Canine Flu [CIV H3N8] was first detected in Florida in 2004 among racing greyhounds, originating as an equine H3N8 strain that mutated from horses to the greyhounds. Since 2004, this strain has been detected in dogs across the country, and this is the viral strain that was most recently confirmed nearby in Columbia, MD.
Canine Flu [CIV H3N2] is a newer virus that was detected in Chicago in 2015 after an inordinate amount of Chicago dogs started suffering from respiratory infections. Prior to the Chicago-born flu virus, cases were only reported abroad in areas such as Thailand, South Korea and China. The Asian virus came to be in 2006, originating from the avian flu and jumping from birds to dogs.
Canine Flu tends to cause respiratory infections in dogs, which is most often associated in pets with an active lifestyle. Those who spend time at dog parks, day care, boarding resorts or grooming spas are most at risk. Dogs contract canine flu through respiratory secretions during barking, coughing or sneezing. They can also get the virus from contaminated objects including collars, leashes, food and water bowls or kennel surfaces.
Symptoms can be very similar to flu-like symptoms in humans, such as:
- Loss of energy or appetite
- Eye discharge
- Runny nose
“Hey Doc, what should I do?”
Huffard Animal Hospital is now offering one flu vaccine that protects against both viruses [H3N8 and H3N2], and we are strongly recommending that dogs get vaccinated. The vaccine is administered under the skin of pets during a Doctor’s exam, and is followed up 2-3 weeks later with a booster and yearly thereafter.