Canine Influenza Update

What is it?

It is a flu virus that can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge and lethargy. Some cases progress to pneumonia and occasionally death. These dogs are generally much sicker than “regular kennel cough” dogs.

Over that last 11 years it has been circulating in various areas throughout the country such as Florida, Virginia and Colorado with little to no evidence of it in Charleston County.

There is an effective vaccine that can be given- yet given the lack of cases in Charleston- we have only recommended it for traveling dogs during outbreaks.

What has changed?

Firstly- There is a significant outbreak in the Midwestern US. With over 1,000 confirmed cases in Chicago alone.

Secondly- It is a new strain, H3N2. All indications are it has been introduced from Asia.

Third- We are not sure if the vaccine currently available for Canine Flu ( H3N8)  will protect our dogs. Tests are underway now.

Fourth- Some cats have been infected with this virus from infected dogs.

What Can I do for my Dog?

  1. Dog Owners should  keep their dogs current on DHLPP or DHPP vaccination. The Adenovirus and Parainfluenza protection is beneficial both in ruling out these as causes of symptoms and reducing the possibility of disastrous combination of infection.
  2. All Dogs Should Be Current (and most are) on the Kennel Cough Vaccine. Having Strong Bordetella antibodies improves outcomes for all respiratory infections.
  3. We have limited doses of the Canine Influenza Vaccine. At this time we are not sure of a benefit due to the variation in the strain. It’s reasonable to believe that there may be some benefit at least. We do know that none of the Flu dogs in Chicago were vaccinated dogs. Tests are in the works- but may be a long time coming.
  4. We will alert you by email if we get  confirmed cases in Charleston County.

What can I Do if we have an outbreak?

  1. Keep your dogs at home
  2. No Dog parks
  3. Be very cautious about or stop dog daycare.
  4. You can personally spread this like a regular human flu. Wash hands and do not go near sick dogs. (People cannot catch this flu).
  5. We have isolation and separate exam rooms set up here at the Animal Medical Center of Mt. Pleasant  for this reason. Please alert us if your are bringing in any respiratory cases.

Dr. Scott Senf


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