Canine Influenza is a newly emerging infectious disease that is caused by the “flu” virus and ONLY AFFECTS DOGS. The virus is known as H3N8 and is very contagious in dogs. Because it is a newly emerging virus, very few dogs will have any type of immunity to it, which means that any dog that is unvaccinated is a candidate for the infection.
The incubation period is 2-5 days and the course of the infection lasts 2-4 weeks.
The most common sign is a persistent cough. It can be a soft moist (productive) cough or a dry cough that is similar to kennel cough.
20%-50% will make their own antibodies and clear the infection without ever showing any signs of the illness.
50%-80% will have a low-grade fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, loss of appetite, and cough for up to a month.
20% will have a high fever and can develop pneumonia.
Virus transmission occurs when your dog comes into direct contact with an infected dog or its secretions. The virus can live up to 24 hours outside the body and can be transmitted when it comes in contact with toys, clothes, bowls, leashes, and etc. that have been exposed to the virus.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of canine influenza in Tennessee, as of this writing, veterinarians are suggesting that if you currently vaccinate your dog for kennel cough you should also vaccinate for canine influenza.
If your dog boards frequently, attends doggie daycare, is groomed on a regular basis, attends group training, or dog parks–they may be at risk.
At AAH, we are STRONGLY RECOMMENDING the Canine Influenza vaccine to our clients who board their dogs or come into contact with other dogs frequently. The initial vaccine is in 2 parts, 3 weeks apart, and annually thereafter. If you want more information or want to schedule an appointment for your dog(s) to get their flu vaccine, call us at 538-8119.