Canine Influenza: H3N2 and H3N8

What is canine influenza?

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is a viral respiratory infection.  There are two strains that have been identified in US – Type A Canine Influenza Viruses: H3N2 and H3N8.  Both viruses have appeared in Oregon.  The first H3N2 case in Oregon was February 2018 after a dog returned home from visiting Reno.  Dogs can contract this infection within 24 hours of exposure.  There have been no confirmed cases reported by Central Oregon veterinarians.  Both CIV H3N2 and H3N8 are highly contagious and nearly all the dogs that are exposed will become infected.

What are the sings of CIV?

Most dogs that contract the infection show mild sings, some may not show signs at all but can pass along the infection to other dogs for weeks.  Dogs are considered contagious prior to showing symptoms which can make this difficult to control in an outbreak.  Common sings include: fever, anorexia, cough, ocular and nasal discharge, and some sneezing. H3N2 can be passed along to felines whereas there have not been any confirmed cases of H3N8 in cats.  The severity of the illness can be different from dog to dog.  Dogs of very young age, very old age, or weakened immune systems can be at greatest risk.  The death rate for dog flu is less than 10 %

How is it contracted?

The virus is spread through the air as well as contaminated objects that may have dried secretions from contagious pets.  The virus can survive on clothing for up to 24 hours after coming in contact with a contagious pet.

How is it treated?

Canine Influenza does not have a medication to help cure the illness, but supportive care is available.  Supportive care will focus on hydration, antibiotic therapy (if concerns of a secondary bronchopneumonia), cough suppressants, and potential anti-viral medications.

How to prevent the illness?

Administration of the killed bivalent vaccine by Zoetis – 2 doses three weeks apart has been proven as an aid in the control of disease associated with infection.  The vaccine is recommended for all dogs over 8 weeks of age that have regular contact with other dogs – ie. Dog shows, groomer, doggy daycares, dog parks, boarding facilities.

If you are concerned that your pet may be showing sings of dog flu please contact your local Bend veterinarian to discuss appropriate testing