Client Memo: Contagious Canine Influenza Identified in the Area

H3N2 Canine Influenza

Cases of a highly contagious Canine Influenza have recently been suspected and confirmed in some southern states. As of June 5th, this specific Influenza strain, known as the H3N2 Influenza, has been diagnosed in the Knoxville area. In a preventative effort, we would like to communicate what we know already and our plan to avoid a further outbreak.

What are the signs of this infection?

Dogs infected with H3N2 and showing clinical signs present with coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever. Left untreated, this can progress into pneumonia.

What pets are at risk?

The H3N2 Influenza strain was initially isolated and identified at a dog show in Georgia. Dogs from multiple states were in attendance at the show, so spread throughout the region is likely. Dogs spending time in close contact with other dogs are thought to be at the highest risk for exposure. This means pets being boarded, going to the groomer or dog park, and/or show dogs have a higher chance of contracting this particular virus. Elderly dogs, puppies, and those with other diseases are also more susceptible to Canine Influenza. Research does not indicate any cross-species transference to humans or cats. 

How is Canine Influenza spread?

Most strains of Canine Influenza are transmitted from dog-to-dog contact via coughing and sneezing. Precaution must be taken to avoid indirect transmission through clothing and fomites such as food and water bowls. Our sources indicate that proper cleaning and disinfection will easily kill the virus in the environment.

What should you do if your dog is showing flu-like symptoms?

If your dog is coughing or showing any signs of respiratory disease, please bring them in for a veterinarian check-up. Communicate with our staff that you are concerned about Canine Influenza. Keep your pet isolated from other dogs to prevent further transmission. The course for this infection is thought to last up to 3 weeks. We offer various tests to diagnose infection and disease, including one to determine if this specific Influenza strain is involved. If your pet tests positive for Canine Influenza, we will treat supportively and maintain healthy hydration.

How can Canine H3N2 Influenza be prevented?

We offer a vaccine to prevent this strain of flu. We will administer the H3N2 vaccine to any susceptible pet, and booster with a second administration 3 weeks later. If your pet is thought to be at risk for exposure to H3N2, please come to the hospital for vaccination. The vaccine distributor suggests to separate the administration of the H3N2 vaccine from other, routine shots. Ideally, we would continue to vaccinate against this flu yearly. If you plan on boarding your dog, having your dog groomed, or showing him or her in a competition, then vaccination is highly recommended.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call and speak with a staff member.