We talked about canine influenza a few months ago as it had just started surfacing. But unfortunately, we have to talk about it again because canine influenza is still spreading.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently released more information on the flu to spread the knowledge about it, and just what to do. In the FAQ they released about it, there is vital information that will answer questions you have about this strain of influenza.
Since May 2015, thousands of dogs have been diagnosed with canine influenza and that number is growing. The string that has been spreading is a result of the direct transfer of the avian flu. It started in Chicago but has spread to other areas since.
There are two types of the flu: mild and severe.
Dogs suffering from the mild form can act lethargic, have a loss of appetite and a fever. Their eyes and nose may be runny and they'll develop a soft cough that lasts approximately 10 to 30 days.
Dogs with the severe form will have very high fevers (104 - 106 degrees Fahrenheit) and clinical signs of pneumonia, like more effort in breathing and increase respiratory rates.
Most dogs, suffering from both the mild and severe form recover within 2 - 3 weeks. However, in less than 10% of cases, dogs with the severe form have passed due to the pneumonia.
The strain of influenza is highly contagious, meaning that virtually all dogs will catch it upon coming into contact with the disease. Dogs that are frequently around other dogs at dog parks, dog kennels, etc., are more likely to catch the disease.
There are H3N8 (the strain from 2004) and H3N2 (the current strain) vaccines available for your dog if you are a concerned pet parent. The H3N2 vaccine was recently approved, so ask your vet about it for more information.
There's no need to panic about canine influenza, in most cases, it isn't fatal. But it's always good to know the facts, especially now that it's more widespread than it was in May. And if you want to be better safe than sorry, ask your vet about more details and consider getting your pup the vaccine.