The virus has been identified as H3N2, a strain that originated in Asia. At this time, it is unknown how H3N2 spread to the United Sates. Unfortunately, the current U.S. approved canine flu vaccine only effectively protects against H3N8, and offers no protection against this Asian born strain.
Recognizing Symptoms of Canine Influenza:
The symptoms of H3N2 are similar to those of H3N8, and include:
- Runny Nose
If you suspect your dog has the canine flu, the first step is to call your veterinarian for advice. Since bringing your dog into the clinic may put other canines at risk, your vet might want to make special arrangements to see your dog. Treatment typically includes rest, fluids, and possibly antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection. Recovery can take up to two weeks and affected dogs should be isolated from other canines. Some dogs infected by H3N2 have also developed pneumonia, which may require hospitalization.
How to Protect Your Dog from Canine Influenza:
If you live in one of the states affected by this highly contagious virus, pay attention to any documented cases in your area. The virus is most easily spread in places where dogs congregate with each other like dog parks, kennels, groomers, training classes, and doggy daycare centers. Temporarily avoiding these types of places can help reduce the rate of transmission in a community. There is no evidence that canine flu can be transmitted to humans.