It is Here! What You Should Know About the Canine Influenza H3N8 Dog Flu

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Canine Influenza H3N9 is especially risky for puppies, dogs with suppressed immune systems and senior dogs.  Don’t put your dog at risk…learn more about this dog flu, before it’s too late!

  • Since Labor Day Weekend 2009, this highly contagious respiratory viral infection of dogs has roared like a wild fire, up the East Coast from Miami to New England.
  • It is caused by the subtype H3N8 of the influenza A virus.
  • It is the source of acute respiratory infection in dogs.  It can cause respiratory disease alone, or in combination with other canine respiratory pathogens.
  • It is not seasonal…dogs can contract it year round.
  • All dogs regardless of age or breed are at risk.
  • Affects dogs only.
  • 100% of dogs are susceptible…80% will show signs, 20% will not become ill, but can still be a carrier.
  • Dogs not exhibiting symptoms can spread the disease.
  • Symptoms are: persistent coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and transient low-grade fever, lack of appetite, lack of energy.  The cough can last up to 1 month.
  • Coughing is the dog’s way of ridding the virus from their body.  Do not give cough suppressant!
  • Take precautions to prevent secondary infections such as a yellow-green nasal discharge and pneumonia.
  • It is spread through airborne pathogens (coughing or sneezing), direct contact (licking, kissing, nuzzling, shared bowls) and contaminated surfaces (hands, clothing, furniture, bedding, dog bedding, crates, kennels, toys, bowls, dog collars, dog leashes and other surfaces)
  • It can be treated with antibiotics, to avoid or lessen risks of secondary infection.
  • If inoculated before infected, severity may be reduced with the H3N8 vaccine – given in 2 doses, 2-4 weeks apart, followed by an annual revaccination.
  • Dogs currently vaccinated for Bordetella (kennel cough) are likely candidates for the CIV H3N8.
  • Unless inoculated, avoid large gatherings of dogs.
  • Washing hands, clothing, and other items in soap and water can easily inactivate the virus. (virus can survive for up to 48 hours otherwise)
  • Concrete and metal surfaces should be cleaned with a 1-part bleach to 9-parts water.
  • For the first 7-10 days, infected dogs shed the virus through respiratory secretions.  Avoid contact with other dogs during this period if possible!
  • The virus usually runs its course usually in 2 weeks.  After that, the dog is no longer contagious.

Don’t take the risk!  If your dog shows the symptoms, get them to your vet, before secondary infections set in.

If they don’t show the symptoms, talk to your vet about the H3N8 vaccine.


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