Canine Influenza is Spreading Across Ohio!

What is the Canine Flu?

The dog flu, or Canine Influenza Virus (CIV H3N2 or H3N8), is a highly contagious infection caused by an influenza virus and is transmitted by coughing and sneezing. Canine influenza can also be transmitted between dogs via contaminated objects such as food and water bowls, collars, leashes, toys, bedding, and through nose-to-nose contact between dogs. The virus is able to live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for up to 12 hours. Dogs that are most susceptible to infection are those that spend a good deal of time around many other dogs during boarding, day care or play time at the dog park.

A Few Dog Flu Facts

  • Dog flu is not usually fatal. Death rate is reported to be less than 10% among flu-infected dogs.
  • The flu needs to run its course (15-30 days for mild cases). Treatment for canine flu is mostly supportive: fluids, rest and cough medicine prescribed by your vet. (Do NOT give human meds to dogs.)
  • Very severe cases may require hospitalization or more intensive therapies.
  • There is now a vaccine for both the H3N2 and the older H3N8 strains. Talk to your vet about the best option for you and your pup, especially if they spend a lot of time around other dogs.
  • Puppies and older dogs are more susceptible to secondary and more serious illness making prevention critical.
  • You can’t catch the flu from your dog so go ahead and give your pup lots of love.

Dog Flu Symptoms

It’s important to recognize the symptoms of dog flu so you can seek treatment for your pet quickly. “Most infected dogs have mild clinical symptoms and it can be very hard to distinguish from other forms of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRD), a common type of kennel cough,” says Carrie Jelovich, DVM. So if your dog shows any of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian so they can test to confirm whether or not your dog has Canine Influenza H3N2.

Canine flu symptoms may include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Nasal discharge – not just your dog’s normal wet nose
  • Fever
  • Eye discharge – look for goopy, mucus-like discharge or a noticeable increase if your dog normally has eye discharge
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced activity, lethargy

Minimize the Chances of Your Dog Catching the Dog Flu

You may notice warning signs about the canine flu popping up at doggie daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks, veterinarian’s offices and even dog-friendly businessesHere’s what you can do to minimize the chances of your dog catching the bug in addition to controlling the spread of the illness to other dogs.

  • Avoid places where canine flu has been reported.
  • Don’t take your pooch to doggy daycare, boarding, the dog park or other pet friendly places if your pooch is showing symptoms, even if it hasn’t been confirmed as the flu yet.
  • If you take your dog to a pet care facility, ask if they’ve had any cases of dog flu and what they’re doing to prevent it from spreading.
  • Visit your vet a few weeks prior to travel to determine whether the vaccine is a good option.
  • Wash your hands! If you can’t help petting every dog you see, wash up well before you spread the love – and the virus – to your own dog.