On June 16, the University of Florida confirmed that more than 20 dogs have been diagnosed with Canine Influenza (H3N2). They also note that cases seen by veterinarians outside the college cannot be tracked since Canine Influenza not considered a reportable disease by the state. The Florida Department of Agriculture reports that while the H3N2 strain has been found in other parts of the country, this is the first time it has been confirmed in Florida.
The H3N8 strain of Canine Influenza was first diagnosed in 2004 and the H3N2 strain was first identified in 2015 during an outbreak in Chicago. This is a highly contagious disease that mutates like strains of human influenza, but there is no evidence that Canine Influenza infects people.
The diagnosed cases originated in north and central Florida. Since many of our patients live in these areas, we highly recommend vaccinating dogs at risk for exposure. Vaccination alone may not completely prevent infection, but it may reduce the severity and duration of clinical illness.
Please call our office to see if your dog is at risk or to make an appointment for the vaccine.
Canine influenza virus is a very contagious virus that infects dogs. The virus is spread by direct contact with a sick dog and by contact with an environment or people that are contaminated with the virus. The virus can survive in the environment for 12 to 24 hours. The virus can infect dogs of any breed, age or health status. Dogs at most risk at those with a social lifestyle and participate in group events or are housed in communal facilities such as boarding kennels, day care centers, shelters, dog shows, pet stores, grooming parlors, etc. Dogs that stay at home and walk around the neighborhood are a low risk. Common symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, and frequent coughing that can last for 2 weeks or more. Many dogs have a fever, decreased appetite and lethargy as well. Some dogs may develop pneumonia that requires 24-hour hospital care. The symptoms may mimic other less serious upper respiratory problems such as allergies, “kennel cough” and other less serious viruses.
For additional information, visit:
The American Veterinary Medical Association
Merck Animal Health – manufacturer of the vaccine.