Canine Influenza or dog flu has been in the news a great deal over the last year. Canine Influenza is caused by one of two strains of the virus, H3N8 and H3N2. These are highly contagious diseases easily spread from infected dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions(coughing and sneezing), food bowls, kennel surfaces and people.
This disease can occur year round. It can be mild or severe. The most common symptoms are: cough, fever and nasal discharge. Most dogs are lethargic and frequently have a decreased appetite. The majority of dogs recover fully within 2 to 3 weeks. However, some dogs may develop more severe illness and pneumonia. The death rate from influenza is less than 5%.
Although, Canine Influenza has not been confirmed in Western New York at this time, we are continuing to be vigilant. Your pet may carry increased risk if you travel frequently with your dog, if they are frequently in public areas. Certainly, there is greater risk if your pet frequents boarding facilities and grooming salons.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine for both strains of Canine Influenza. Although, we do not routinely vaccinate dogs at this point, please discuss your own dogs potential risk of exposure.
We will continue to monitor and make changes in recommendations based on the threat of the disease in our local canine population.