In 2017, the Canine Influenza outbreak became serious enough that public service announcements were seen everywhere. Just a few months later, the outbreak is continuing to develop and it’s time for an update.
Spread of the Canine Influenza
There are two strains of Canine Influenza, H3N8 and H3N2. Both were introduced from overseas and were first diagnosed in the U.S. in Florida and Chicago. It was primarily limited to the east coast and some southern states.
At this time the H3N8 strain can be found in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and North Dakota. The H3N2 strain is quickly catching up with verified diagnosis on both coasts, and in several central states. Some areas are suffering from severe flare-ups, but all locations are experiencing a steady spread of both strains.
- Because these strains are new to the U.S., and new in general, dogs have no natural immunity. If exposed, infection is likely.
- Dogs who have the highest risk of infection are those who travel often because they come into contact with more surfaces. Dogs are also at risk when they are boarded, go to daycare, visit grooming facilities, and those who have close contact with other dogs, such as in dog parks.
- Canine Influenza is highly contagious, but cannot infect humans.
- Although humans cannot be infected, we can carry the virus to our dogs on clothes, skin, and by leaving the contagion on other surfaces.
- The virus can last as long as 12 hours on soft surfaces, like clothing and fabrics
- Both strains can last a resilient 48-hours on hard surfaces like countertops and floors.
- Infection can be transmitted by an infected dog up to 28 days after exposure
- Symptoms are very similar to the dry, hacking of kennel cough. They also include lowered appetite, lethargy, fever, and discharge from nose and eyes.
Immunity: These strains originated in other countries. Now that they are in the U.S., all dogs are at risk because they have no naturally built up immunity. This means if a dog is exposed, infection is likely. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates 80% of dogs who are exposed will develop the disease. Only 10% of dogs have died from the disease. Ten percent may not sound high, but compared to other common mortality rates, it is a percentage to be concerned about and watch. Those with the highest risk of death are senior dogs, puppies, and other canine companions with low immune systems. Dogs who go too long without a diagnosis and treatment are also the least likely to survive.
Head to the vet early. Ask about testing for canine influenza if you think your canine companion may be infected. If you have an at-risk dog because of low immunity, ask your vet whether you should consider the canine flu shot and vaccinations.
EcoImmune is a powerful all-natural supplement that boost dog and cat immune systems. It’s packed with antioxidants and the highest quality all-natural ingredients. Plus, dogs and cats love the taste. Sprinkle this supplement on their food and your canine and cat companions will be healthier and at a lower risk of contracting canine influenza.
Contagious: The reason these strains are concerning is that not only do dogs lack a natural immunity, but it is highly contagious. Some diseases and illnesses require contact with blood close contact, like and infected dog sneezing and coughing right in your dog’s face. But canine influenza sticks! It can be brought into the home on clothes and anything else an infected dog may have come into contact with, like hands. We may wash out hand the moment we walk in the door, but most of us are greeted by pur pup, and touch door handles and countertops on the way to the faucet. The virus lasts on soft surfaces like clothes and rugs for 12-hours. And it has staying power on hard surfaces, like the faucet handle and doorknobs, for 48-hours.
If you aren’t in an area where infection rates are high, washing hands and clothes and wiping down surfaces will be enough. But if you are in a hot zone, or you and your pup frequent places where dogs hang out, like daycare and parks, be sure to also wash dog bedding more often and may skip the community water bowl at the dog park. A quick call to the vet should tell you whether your county at risk and additional precautions that can be taken.
Our canine companions are more than friends and companions, they’re family. Keep an eye out for symptoms, be wary of new dogs, and call the vet to ask about the cases in your area and what can be done to prevent the spread of canine influenza. Practice good common sense and cleanliness, and most of the risk will be abated.
For more information about transmission, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, take a look at our last piece: “PSA: 2017 Canine Influenza Outbreak.”