Canine influenza, sometimes called “dog flu”, is a highly contagious viral infection. Two strains of canine influenza have been identified in the United States. Strain H3N8 was first identified in Florida in 2004. Strain H3N2 was first identified in Chicago in 2015.
There is no evidence that either strain can infect humans.
Both strains cause similar symptoms including a cough that last for 2 to 3 weeks, sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and a reluctance to eat. Some dogs are more severely affected and may develop fever, respiratory distress, or pneumonia. Most dogs recover without incident, but deaths have been reported.
Canine Influenza is easily spread and may persist in the environment for 2 days. It may survive on clothing for 24 hours. Transmission frequently occurs in facilities where there is a high population of dogs – boarding, doggy day-care, grooming, training classes, shelters. Both strains of canine influenza are easily killed with diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 30 parts water) and many common commercial disinfectants.
Dogs that have recovered from canine influenza and dogs that have been exposed to canine influenza but did not develop symptoms should isolate at home for 4 weeks before returning to boarding, day-care, grooming, or training facilities.
A vaccine is available that offers protection against both H3N8 and H3N2 strains. The vaccine requires an initial dose and a booster dose 3 to 4 weeks later. Maximum immunity is not reached until 2 weeks after the booster. If you are planning on boarding your dog, you should schedule an appointment for the initial influenza vaccine for 6 to 7 weeks before boarding. Vaccination may not completely prevent an infection, but it can reduce the severity and duration of clinical illness.
For more information on Canine Influenza use this link — https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/canine-influenza
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