A positive case of the Canine Influenza Virus H3N2 was reported in the area. Other cases are suspected but not yet confirmed. These cases were not at our hospital but at a hospital in our area.
We recommend vaccinating any dog who has contact (direct or indirect) with other dogs for this strain of influenza. This includes but is not limited to, boarded or groomed dogs, dogs attending doggie daycare, dog classes, shows, or field trials, and dogs living in neighborhoods or visiting parks where other dogs are present. Canine influenza is an airborne virus that is easily spread among dogs. Dogs do not require direct contact with another dog to contract this virus. This is a particularly virulent strain of influenza with a high potential to outbreak, and has been associated with severe viral pneumonia which is resistant to conventional therapies. This pneumonia is very similar to the type of pneumonia seen in human COVID-19 patients, though the two diseases are completely unrelated. Deaths due to the H3N2 influenza strain are not uncommon, when pneumonia occurs. As in COVID-19, many affected individuals have no signs of disease, but can spread the virus to other dogs.
Note that most cases of influenza in dogs are contracted at boarding and grooming facilities or daycare facilities. During an influenza outbreak, dogs should not attend these facilities until fully vaccinated. Dogs who have been vaccinated in the past require a single booster vaccination, if they are not currently up-to-date on the vaccine. Dogs who have never been vaccinated require two vaccinations given two to four weeks apart for full protection. These dogs are considered fully protected two weeks after the second vaccination. Clermont Animal Hospital currently has vaccinations in stock; however, supplies may be limited if demand increases, or a wide-spread outbreak occurs. We recommend vaccinating your dog as soon as possible. Visit our website at www.ClermontAnimal.net for further details or visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/canine-influenza. For any questions or to schedule an appointment please call us at 513-732-1730.
Fall is the start of flu season, and new cases of canine influenza have already been reported in the area. It is unclear whether the 2021-2022 flu season will see an actual canine flu outbreak, or just isolated cases of the disease. Outbreaks occurred in Cincinnati in 2015 and 2017, with dogs dying in both outbreaks. Dog owners have many questions regarding this virus. Below are some of the most common questions and their answers. For further information, refer to the AVMA and CDC websites (links below) or contact the doctors or staff at Clermont Animals Hospital at 513-732-1730.
What is Canine Influenza?
What are the Signs of Canine Influenza in Infected Dogs?
What Dogs are Considered At-Risk for Contracting the Disease?
Should my Dog be Vaccinated?
Can Humans or other Animals Get Canine Influenza?
What Should I do if I Suspect that my Dog has Influenza?
Where Can I Find Current Up-to-Date Information?
Q: What is Canine Influenza?
A: Canine Influenza is a form of the influenza virus that has mutated to affect dogs. There are currently two strains of Canine Influenza: H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N8 strain first became a problem in 2004 in the racing Greyhound population. It has since then spread throughout the country, but is currently mostly a concern in shelter situations. The H3N2 strain emerged in Asia and was first introduced into the United States in March 2015. An outbreak of this strain hit the Cincinnati area hard in the second half of 2015 and again in 2017. New cases have been reported this fall, though it is uncertain if there will be a full-blown outbreak this fall.
Q: What are the signs of Canine Influenza in infected dogs?
A: When a dog is infected with the H3N2 strain of Canine Influenza, the disease behaves very similarly to the human COVID-19 virus, though these diseases are completely unrelated. There are three possible presentations of canine influenza signs:
Q: What dogs are considered at-risk for contracting the disease?
A: Because canine influenza is a newly emergent disease, few unvaccinated dogs have any natural immunity to the illness. Approximately 80% of dogs exposed to canine influenza will develop the infection. Because this is an air-borne disease, and because it is now present in the Cincinnati area, all dogs who come into contact with other dogs are considered at-risk. While a dog may not go to a boarding or grooming facility, if the neighbors dog does and becomes a subclinical carrier, the disease can be spread unknowingly to other dogs in the neighborhood. The following information will help identify the level of risk:
Q: Should my dog be vaccinated?
A: Currently, Clermont Animal Hospital is recommending vaccination for any dogs with direct or indirect contact with other dogs. The doctors at Clermont Animal Hospital are happy to discuss the current status of Canine Influenza in the area and help determine vaccination recommendations on a case-by-case basis. Refer to the risk categories above to help determine the importance of vaccination. For any animal who has never been vaccinated for influenza or received only the H3N8 vaccine (prior to July 2017), a series of two vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart will provide the best protection. Any dog who has been vaccinated for influenza since July 2017 should only need a single booster vaccine, even if this vaccination has not been routinely updated.
Q: Can humans or other animals get Canine Influenza?
A: So far, shelter cats housed in the same shelter as dogs infected in an influenza outbreak are the only other species to contract the H3N2 strain of Canine Influenza; however, because the influenza virus frequently mutates, it is recommended that any immune compromised human not have exposure to a dog with a current influenza infection. Handwashing and increased cleaning/hygiene are always good practices to help prevent spread.
Q: What should I do if I suspect my dog has influenza?
A: If you suspect your dog has influenza or has signs that could be influenza, it is important to do the following:
Q: Where can I find current up-to-date information?
A: Because canine influenza can develop into an outbreak whenever there are known reported cases in a geographical area, it is important to stay up-to-date on current information throughout flu season. Here are a few websites for further information:
© Clermont Animal Hospital, Inc. 2021