Canine influenza, more commonly known as the dog flu, has made its way to Louisiana. So far, two confirmed cases were found in Monroe. There are 2 strands of the virus H3N8 and H3N2, but H3N2 is the strand that has most recently affected dogs in Louisiana and is believed to be contracted at a dog show in Georgia.
CANINE INFLUENZA SYMPTOMS AND TRANSMISSION
According to the AVMA, some symptoms to look out for are coughing, fever, and runny nose. Your dog may also show signs of lethargy and may not have an appetite. Some dogs may not show any signs of illness, but can be transmitters of the virus and infect other dogs. The more severe cases can lead to pneumonia and sometimes death. Canine influenza can be spread in different ways. H3N2 is spread through direct contact from an infected dog such as coughing, barking, and sneezing. It can also be transferred through contaminated objects such as surfaces, toys, and bowls. The virus can remain alive (and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, clothing for 24 hours, and hands for 12 hours.
CIV is HIGHLY contagious and almost all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected. To reduce the spread of the canine influenza, isolate dogs that are showing symptoms, or dogs that have been exposed to an infected dog. Isolation period for dogs that have been infected with the H3N2 strand should be isolated for at least 21 days and dogs that are infected with H3N8 for at least 7 days. It is also very important to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation. You should thoroughly wash your hands, clothes, and shared items to reduce the spread of the virus. The influenza virus can be killed by commonly used disinfectants.
Pet owners can discuss with their veterinarian whether their dogs should be vaccinated for the virus. The two-shot vaccination doesn’t necessarily defect the virus, but it will help reduce its length and severity. If you’re planning on traveling with or without your pet this summer, you may want to consider the vaccine. In May of 2017, canine H3N2 was diagnosed in dogs in the southeastern United States. Your pet is also at high risk of contracting the virus at boarding and daycare facilities, grooming salons, dog parks, and other locations where the animals are in close quarters. It’s important to contact your local veterinarian for more information.
Here is some more information about Canine Influenza Virus. https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineInfluenza.aspx