Ohio and Georgia have been added to the list of states where dogs have been diagnosed with H3N2, bringing the total number of states affected by this new strain of canine influenza to twelve. H3N2 originated in Asia and, at this time, it is unknown how it spread to the United States. Below are ten facts pet parents should know about H3N2.
- There is no evidence that dogs can transmit canine influenza to humans.
- Symptoms of H3N2 include runny nose, cough, lethargy, decreased appetite, and an elevated temperature.
- Puppies and geriatric dogs are at a higher risk of contracting H3N2.
- It is estimated that several thousand dogs have been affected with H3N2, but not over 10,000.
- The state with the most cases of H3N2 is Illinois, where approximately 1,000 dogs have been affected. Cases have also been reported in Alabama, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Iowa, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Indiana.
- The mortality rate for H3N2 is relatively low, around 2-3%.
- Severe complications, like pneumonia, can occur with any strain of dog flu.
- Similarly to human respiratory disease, dog flu is spread through direct contact, sneezing, and coughing. Contaminated surfaces and objects can also contribute to the spread of disease, making doggie daycares and similar facilities prime spots for virus transmission.
- It is unknown whether the current dog flu vaccine (which protects against H3N8) offers any reliable protection against this new strain, H3N2.
- Canine flu is typically treated with fluids, pain medications, and sometimes antibiotics to treat secondary infections.
If your dog is displaying symptoms of canine flu, immediately consult with a veterinarian.