We wanted to make dog owners aware that one of our members was told by her veterinarian that there has been one confirmed and two suspected cases of canine influenza in the past couple of weeks. Vaccination is available and recommended for dogs who frequent dog parks, kennels, groomers, pet stores and areas where there are other dogs. Dog owners may want to contact their vet for more information.
Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious infection caused by an influenza A virus. Two clinical syndromes have been seen in dogs infected with the canine influenza virus—a mild form of the disease and a more severe form that is accompanied by pneumonia.
· Mild form — Dogs suffering with the mild form of canine influenza develop a soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days. They may also be lethargic and have reduced appetite and a fever. Sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose may also be observed. Some dogs have a dry cough similar to the traditional “kennel cough” caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica/parainfluenza virus complex. Dogs with the mild form of influenza may also have a thick nasal discharge, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
· Severe form — Dogs with the severe form of canine influenza develop high fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort. Pneumonia may be due to a secondary bacterial infection.
Because this is still an emerging disease and most dogs in the U.S. have not been exposed to it before, almost all dogs, regardless of breed or age, lack immunity to it and are susceptible to infection if exposed to the active virus. Virtually all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, and nearly 80% show clinical signs of disease, though most exhibit the mild form described above. Luckily, the mortality rate is low and most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx
Additional information can be found at the American Kennel Club webpage on Canine Influenza at http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/canine-influenza-virus-notice/