The Latest Canine Influenza Outbreak: What You Need to Know

By Nicole Abrego

Since 2017, Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) has emerged in California, with the most recent cases taking place in the Bay Area as of January 2018. First reported three years ago in Chicago, CIV has made its way to over 40 states and is considered endemic in dogs in the United States.

What is Canine Influenza Virus?

Canine Influenza Virus (commonly known as the dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that primarily affects dogs. Consisting of two strains, H3N8 and H3N2, this incredibly infectious virus has a 100% infection rate due to most dogs having no natural immunity to the virus. Though typically not fatal, this disease can cause “flu-like” symptoms similar to what you would see in a human flu or cold.

What Are the Symptoms?

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Coughing
  • Discharge from nose or eyes
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Rapid breathing

 

How is Canine Influenza Virus Spread?

CIV is commonly spread among dogs that have frequent exposure to other dogs in pet friendly areas, such as boarding facilities, dog parks, grooming boutiques, and shelters. The virus can spread through coughing, barking, or sneezing from infected dogs, direct contact with them, and handling contaminated objects and surfaces such as feeding bowls, leashes, collars and more. It’s important to note that the virus can live on surfaces anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. This is quite concerning considering that Encinitas is a very dog-friendly community filled with dog parks, dog-friendly beaches, restaurants and more.

 

How Do I Protect My Dog?

With any disease, prevention is key to keeping your dog healthy and happy. The Canine Influenza Vaccine is available and protects against both the H3H8 and H3N2 strains of the virus. Vaccination is incredibly important as most of the overall dog population is naive to the virus and the vaccine can help reduce the possibility of a CIV outbreak in our area. In the case that the recent outbreak does effect the San Diego area, having your dog vaccinated and away from heavily dog populated areas will ultimately protect them from the disease.

I Think My Dog May Have CIV, What Do I Do?

If your dog is displaying the symptoms linked to CIV and you suspect that your dog may have contracted the virus, contact us immediately. Though there is no treatment for the Canine Influenza Virus per se, your veterinarian can provide you with a treatment regime to help remedy the symptoms of CIV and help keep your dog comfortable as they recover. Recovery time is usually within 2-3 weeks and your dog should avoid all contact with other dogs during this time.

Though we don’t know the how far this outbreak will spread, The Drake Center is dedicated to keeping your pets healthy and pet parents informed. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule your dog’s appointment to receive the Canine Flu Vaccine, contact us today.

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