FAQs: Canine Influenza A H3N8 and A H3N2

Fresh cases of the Canine Influenza or dog flu is spreading across several states, even countries outside the US.  In Chicago alone, 1,000 dogs have been confirmed as infected.   Other states with the virus include Illinois, Massachussets

Veterinarians are urging vigilance and see this virus as nothing to mess with.


What causes the Canine Influenza?

Two viruses —  H3N8 and  H3N2.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease only affects animals.  There is no evidence of transmission from dogs to people.

The virus outbreak is closely associated with the H3N2 strain, mostly found in Asia.

H3N8 has been found to affect cats; while H3N8 originated from horses.


Can my dog go to dog parks? 

This depends on where you live.  If your state is affected by the virus, then dogs should avoid dog parks, grooming spots and other places where dogs gather.  It is a  great risk to bring your dog to places with other dogs that you don’t know.  Kennels and shelters are also areas at risk for this virus.


What are the symptoms of Canine Influenza?

Similar to the flu virus that affect humans, here are the symptoms of dog flu:

  • Cough which leads to Convulsion
  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • High Fever of up to 106ºF

However, some dogs that carry the virus don’t even show any of these symptoms.


Is Canine Influenza Curable? 

Yes. Dogs can get supportive care to boost immunity.   Veterinarians would prescribe antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection is diagnosed.  There is also a vaccine available for H3N8.  For now, it remains unknown whether the vaccine can also prevent the new strain H3N2.


Of course, medical treatment can come at a significant cost.  It’s a financial burden, a big financial burden to the tune about $1,000 a day. You’re willing to pay it. It’s your dog.


Is dog flu fatal?

Usually not.

Only a small percentage of dogs die. However, if left untreated, dogs can get severely sick with pneumonia as a result of the illness. But some dogs show no symptoms at all.


Keep your dogs safe and healthy!

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