Canine Influenza, or dog flu, is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs as well as cats. Canine Influenza is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs. Almost every dog exposed to the virus will become infected. Recently, both strains (H3N8 and H3N2) have been (and still are) being diagnosed in Macomb County.
The virus is transmitted by either direct contact, in the air (barking, coughing, sneezing), contaminated objects, and by people moving from infected to uninfected dogs. The virus can live on surfaces for 48 hours, clothing for 24 hours, and hands for 12 hours.
Symptoms mimic kennel cough but the clinical signs of the cough persist for 10 to 21 days despite treatment. Affected dogs may have a soft, moist cough, nasal or eye discharge, sneezing, lethargy, or decreased appetite. Many dogs will spike a fever up to 105 degrees. Some, more severely affected, may exhibit signs of pneumonia.
What can you do to keep your dog safe? Vaccinate with the bivalent H3N8/H3N2 vaccine. This vaccine requires a booster 3 weeks. Until then…
- Avoid frequent dog areas such as dog parks, pet day care, grooming facilities, kennels, dog-friendly stores, and communal water bowls.
- Wash your dog’s toys, bowls, and bedding regularly.
- When in contact with other dogs, even if they don’t appear sick, wash your hands and change your clothes before handling your own pet.
- Avoid contact with sick or possibly exposed dogs as the virus can persist on clothing and other surfaces for at least 24 hours.
Call Veterinary General for more information and to schedule your dog’s vaccine today! 586-992-3810