Canine influenza virus is a contagious upper respiratory virus that can be transmitted from dog to dog, but not from dogs to people. The symptoms of flu in dogs include coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, lethargy and fever.
There are reported cases of confirmed influenza virus in Guilford County, but these cases are very limited. Influenza is transmitted in nasal and respiratory secretions and can be transmitted via nose to nose contact or on clothing or other contaminated items. In most dogs the disease is self-limiting and can be treated with supportive care and antibiotics.
Dogs with the most risk of severe disease include the immunocompromised, heart patients and those with primary respiratory disease. The best way to prevent transmission of influenza to your dog is to avoid situations where there is nose to nose contact with other dogs, especially if they are showing signs of influenza. Wash your hands after you pet other dogs and wash clothing, bedding or other items that could carry the virus in hot water. Do not let your dog share collars, leashes or bowls with other dogs.
After consulting with an expert on veterinary infectious diseases at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Adams Farm Animal Hospital,P.A. has decided not to recommend canine influenza vaccination to the general dog population. The currently available canine influenza vaccine contains that H3N8 strain of canine influenza and there are no studies to show that this vaccine offers cross-protection against the H3N2 stain of canine influenza currently seen. Vaccinating your dog would likely offer little protection and the disease is in most cases self-limiting.
We are taking steps to monitor all dogs that enter our facility for signs of upper respiratory disease and using quarantine as necessary to help reduce risk to other pets. If your dog is being seen for coughing, sneezing, lethargy or eye/nose discharge please let us know in advance and try to keep your dog away from other animals. If you have any further questions about canine influenza please give us a call!
AVMA Pet Owner’ Guide to Canine Influenza: