What is Canine Influenza?
Humans aren’t the only ones who get the flu. There are two common strains of the canine influenza virus (CIV) here in the U.S., H3N8 and H3N2, which can affect dogs. CIV is a highly contagious Type A flu virus that can infect your pet’s respiratory tract and cause an inflammatory response. Additionally, the respiratory tract may become vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections, resulting in continuous coughing and nasal discharge. Other symptoms of CIV include lethargy, fever, ocular discharge, and sneezing.
Almost every dog that comes into contact with this virus is likely to become infected. Most will show clinical signs, but about 20% may not. Those that do not show signs will shed the virus and increase the risk of infection for other dogs.
How It Spreads
CIV is spread via the respiratory secretions released when an infected dog coughs, sneezes, or barks. It can also be spread by objects or people that have been in contact with the infection. The virus can live for a time on surfaces such as kennel floors and walls, food and water bowls, leashes, collars, hands, and clothing. The most high-risk areas for infection include:
- Animal shelters
- Boarding kennels
- Dog daycare centers
- Dog parks
Protecting Your Pet
CIV can live on hands for up to 12 hours, clothing for 24 hours, and various surfaces for up to 48 hours. Washing your hands frequently and disinfecting surfaces after they’ve been exposed to the virus is paramount. This is especially important if you are bringing your pet to see their veterinarian; in addition to keeping your pet safe, we also want all of our other patients to remain healthy.
For extra protection, have your dog vaccinated against CIV. Our hospital carries the bivalent flu vaccine, which protects against both strains of the virus. You are welcome to call us any time at (315) 637-9801 if you have questions about our vaccine or are unsure whether it’s necessary for your pet. We would be happy to supply you with more information and help you make an informed choice.
The Fayetteville Veterinary Hospital and staff are wonderful. Dr. Bunnell and staff are friendly, caring and understand that a pet is truly part of your family.