Canine Influenza H3N2: What You Need to Know

If you are a dog owner in the Durham and Chapel Hill area, our local veterinarian at New Hope Animal Hospital would like to advise you that there is a new strain of canine influenza going around the country. This new canine flu outbreak originated in Chicago in March 2015. Unfortunately, the vaccines currently available for canine influenza do not protect against this new strain of the virus as they were designed to protect against the H3N8 strain that caused a 2004 outbreak. Therefore, our vets recommend taking other precautions to protect your dog against the H3N2 canine flu virus. Prompt treatment when symptoms are detected can make all the difference for infected dogs.

Preventing and Treating Canine Influenza H3N2

Canine influenza is very contagious. It can spread through dog-to-dog contact, and via secretions expelled through coughing and sneezing. Bowls, collars, kennels, toys, and other contaminated objects serve as another method of spreading the virus. People who have contact with an infected dog can also spread the virus to another dog. Please note that canine influenza H3N2 cases have already been reported in North Carolina.

For further information on canine influenza you can check:

Current information on canine influenza in North Carolina can be found at:

sick_dog_with_flu_laying_downYou should also keep an eye on your dog for the appearance of canine flu symptoms, which can often appear similar to those of kennel cough. Symptoms of H3N2 canine flu include:

• Coughing, hacking, or gagging
• Trouble breathing
• Runny nose
• Fever
• Lethargy
• Eye discharge
• Reduced appetite

Although most dogs recover from canine flu H3N2 within a couple of weeks, there is a risk of secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. Secondary infections can be quite serious and can put your dog's life at risk. You can speed up your dog's recovery and protect against secondary infections by seeking prompt veterinary care if your dog displays signs of H3N2 infection.

Treatment typically involves supportive care, and may involve the use of antibiotics if a secondary infection is present or the patient is considered at high risk for such an infection. Symptoms usually abate quickly once treatment is administered. It is important to note that canine influenza is not contagious to humans. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

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