Canine Influenza, also known as CI or dog flu, is a highly contagious disease that can make dogs (and sometimes cats) very ill. Caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), dog flu is a respiratory infection that causes a cough, thick nasal discharge (runny nose), and a fever. Other symptoms include lethargy, reduced appetite, and eye discharge. Most dogs will recover from flu in 2-3 weeks, while others may need to be hospitalized for severe symptoms or secondary bacterial infections that might arise (like pneumonia).
Since canine influenza is spread from barking, touching, or being in infected areas, it is most common for dogs to catch it places where dogs socialize, like dog parks, kennels, groomers, boarding facilities and dog shows.
The current flu outbreak we’re seeing in Upstate South Carolina is the H3N2 strain. This flu started last year in Chicago before spreading to several Midwestern states and eventually the East Coast. At Animal Clinic of Woodruff, we currently vaccinate against another strain, the H3N8 influenza, which may also help reduce symptoms or stave off H3N2. Thankfully, two vaccines were recently released on a conditional basis that cover H3N2.
If your dog is social, is attending dog shows and/or will be boarded, we recommend coming into the clinic for a H3N2 Canine Influenza vaccine. Getting a vaccine now can help prevent a long and difficult illness for your pets.
If you think your dog may have symptoms of canine influenza, please make an appointment with us immediately. Sick dogs need to be isolated, treated to be more comfortable, and possibly given medications to prevent secondary infections.
If you’re concerned your dog may be sick or if you’d like to receive the canine flu vaccine, contact our veterinary office in Spartanburg today: 864.576.9800.