You may have heard of outbreaks of dog flu/canine influenza in various regions of the United States in the past several years. Unfortunately, we just learned that cases of canine influenza have been confirmed in Seattle and Portland. We don't wish to cause alarm, but we do consider this an important situation for dog owners which calls for some extra awareness and attention.
Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is caused by an influenza A virus. Two strains have been identified in dog flu cases in the United States: H3N8 was first found in the U.S. dog population in 2004 and a "newer" H3N2 was identified more recently. The H3N2 strain was identified in the cases in Seattle and Portland.
Although it does not infect people, canine influenza highly contagious to other dogs and can occur year-round. Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks; however, some cases have been fatal. Exposure to the virus comes from other dogs (i.e. boarding, dog parks, dog shows, and other areas where dogs gather), and from coming into contact with the virus in locations where it has been deposited. The virus can live outside of the body for up to 48 hours. Because of the proximity of the recent cases, we recommend temporarily limiting those activities that expose your dog to others.
The good news is that there are now vaccines that protect against both strains of canine influenza. Please contact our office to find out your dog's vaccination status and whether it would be a good idea for your dog to be vaccinated.
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following signs, please contact us immediately:
Coughing or labored breathing
Nasal or eye discharge
To protect all of our patients, we are asking anyone bringing in a dog with any of the above symptoms to wait in the car until ready to be seen. We have established an isolation protocol within our hospital to prevent transmission should we see a patient with canine influenza. We appreciate your assistance in keeping all of our patients safe!
These resources provide some more detailed information:
As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's health.
Your Team at Diamond Veterinary Hospital