Home


Symptoms and Treatment of Dog Flu

Summary:

Canine influenza or Dog flu (H3N8, H3N2) is a relatively new disease that has a low mortality rate. The disease is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog. Canine influenza has been reported in 30 states in the U.S. It spreads in the same way human flu spreads, through the air via respiratory secretions and by touching or drinking from contaminated objects, or by sharing leashes and bowls. The virus can last on surfaces for 48 hours and 12 hours on human hands.

Symptoms are similar to those found in an upper respiratory infection, such as a low grade fever, runny nose, changes in appetite, and cough. Since it is hard to distinguish the flu from respiratory issues that heal on their own, it is advised that pet owners visit a veterinarian. There is a chance that in complicated cases of the disease, a dog can develop secondary bacterial pneumonia if left untreated. Asymptomatic dogs (those that do not show symptoms) can still be ill (about 20% of call cases).

There is a vaccine available that is recommended for dogs that frequently contract canine influenza, or that is frequently in close contact with other dogs that get the disease, such as in a kennel. There is not treatment other than having to work through the 7 day infectious cycle and to guard against the worsening of the disease into bacterial pneumonia. The cost of dog flu vaccination is from $35 to $45.

There is no evidence that the flu in dogs can spread to people."


The Canine Influenza diseases was first seen in racing greyhounds starting in 2004. Since then outbreaks have been recorded in most if not all other breeds.

Dog flu is a relatively new strain of influenza. This virus, belonging to the influenza A family, is a mutated strain of an equine influenza virus that has been detected in horses for more than 40 years. It was first reported in January 2004 at a greyhound track in Florida. Since then, it has been reported in as many as 40 other states. Dogs in shelters, humane societies, and boarding facilities are at particular risk and are often vaccinated.

There have been confirmed cases in 30 States in the U.S. Dogs are highly susceptible to the disease since they have no immunity from prior infections.


Dogs in Close Quarters Such as Shelters Are Most At Risk for Dog Flu. The Rate of Infection Can Reach 100%, with 80% Showing Symptoms.

Podcast


Canine Influenza Podcast Update from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Dogs can only catch the flu from other dogs. It is transmitted through the air, usually by dogs coughing or sneezing on each other. If your dog has not been around any other dogs in the past week or so, then he can’t have the flu.

The incubation periodin most cases is 2 to 5 days. Infected dogs can spread the flu for 7 to 10 days after symptoms appear. Dogs that show no clinical signs can also spread the disease.

Humans cannot catch the flu from dogs; it is a different strain of flu.

Dog flu shown under the microscope
Source:

Symptoms

Dog flu symptoms in its mild form include sneezing, nasal discharge, lack of energy, reduced appetite, low grade fever, and a persistent cough and stuffy nose that can last for up to three weeks. It can resemble kennel cough and other respiratory diseases.Because of the similarity of the two diseases, it is recommended that a "better safe than sorry" approach be taken, with an immediate trip to the veterinarian for evaluation.

Cough can persist for 2 to 3 weeks. Nasal discharge is more likely than sneezing. Most dogs recover with no complications.

In severe cases, high grade fever (104 - 106 degrees) difficulty breathing (increased respiratory rate). Secondary bacterial pneumonia may set in if left untreated.

Diagnosis

There are two types of tests available for dog flu. In dogs that have been ill for less than 4 days, a veterinarian can collect swabs from the nose. In dogs that have been. There is a blood test that is only accurate seven days after the onset of symptoms that will show antibodies to the flu virus, meaning that your dog’s body is fighting off the virus, but that does’t help if you take your dog to the vet when he first gets sick. The other method uses Given the need to wait the seven days, your veterinarian will probably make a preliminary diagnosis based on the symptoms and medical history you provide.

If he has been around another dog, and he has symptoms of the flu, then he may well have the flu. Since treatment for the flu is similar to treatment for many other respiratory infections, having an exact diagnosis may not really matter anyway.

Treatment

There is no treatment since canine influenza is a viral infection. It just needs to move through its infectious cycle, which is usually 7 days. Most dogs will recover without any treatment. The virus will simply run its course. Keep your dog warm and dry. She may not have much or an appetite, but encourage her to drink plenty of water.

In some cases, secondary infections like pneumonia may set in. In these cases, antibiotics are required. These are given orally, usually for 14 days. Your vet may want to give your dog antibiotics anyway, just in case he has something besides the flu virus.

In very severe cases, dogs may require intravenous fluids and antibiotics. This will require hospitalization which is unusual.

Ask your veterinarian about supplementing your dogs diet with natural remedies made to support respiratory health and bolster the immune system. Respo-K is an example of one product that combines several natural ingredients that are associated with supporting the immune and respiratory system.

Treatment

There is no treatment since canine influenza is a viral infection. It just needs to move through its infectious cycle, which is usually 7 days. Most dogs will recover without any treatment. The virus will simply run its course. Keep your dog warm and dry. She may not have much or an appetite, but encourage her to drink plenty of water.

In some cases, secondary infections like pneumonia may set in. In these cases, antibiotics are required. These are given orally, usually for 14 days. Your vet may want to give your dog antibiotics anyway, just in case he has something besides the flu virus.

In very severe cases, dogs may require intravenous fluids and antibiotics. This will require hospitalization which is unusual.

Ask your veterinarian about supplementing your dogs diet with natural remedies made to support respiratory health and bolster the immune system. is an example of one product that combines several natural ingredients that are associated with supporting the immune and respiratory system.

Mortality Rate

6 to 8% of dogs that get dog flu will die from the disease if left untreated.  In these cases the disease is characterized as pneumonia. Most cases (80%) are mild.  Mortality rates are higher in dogs that have a weak immune system or are in poor condition.

Prevention

There is a relatively new vaccine for canine influenza caused by the strain H3N8. It is not one of the required or core vaccines on most states. Greyhounds, show dogs and others that travel to states where there is a higher prevalence of the disease, including dogs living Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado should discuss vaccination with their veterinarian.

The vaccine requires two doses, 2 to 4 weeks apart, followed by re vaccination. Often dogs that are vaccinated for kennel cough are vaccinated for canine influenza as well. Most dog shelters and veterinarians offer the vaccine a low cost ($35 to $45).

The dog flu vaccine is a killed viral vaccine, so there is no potential for the vaccine to cause the virus itself. It is save for dogs 6 weeks of age or older. Like other dog influenza vaccines, it may not prevent infection of the dog, but will reduce the severity of the clinical disease, it will reduce the progression of the disease to pneumonia, and reduce the time that a dog can spread the disease to other dogs.

Brochures

(PDF Download, Author: )

(PDF Download)


Ask Our Vet A Question About the Flu And We Will Answer It For Free

Have A Dog Flu or Respiratory Question For Our Vet?

Do you have a Dog Flu Health Question for our Editors or a Helpful Story to Share? Please include information such as age, sex, breed, medical history, symptoms and medications.

We will do our best to get back to you quickly (depends on how many questions we receive each day). Include important information such as breed, sex, age, medical condition, respiratory, breathing and other symptoms (changes in behavior, cough etc.), test results and history of recent visits to the veterinarian.

If you do require an immediate response we suggest using this online dog veterinary service that is available now.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]

 

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.


(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Vet Suggestions and Other Reader Questions

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Cleaner for Dog Flu Not rated yet
Reader Question: Disinfectant Cleaner to remove Dog flu virus from kennel. We are an 80 kennel boarding kennel in Michigan. We use Nolvasan S disinfectant, …

Click here to write your own.

References

“Canine Influenza Backgrounder”.


Washington State University

Rubenstein, Carin. “Virulent Dog Virus Hits Area Kennels”.
New York Times. 25 September 2005.

”.
AVMA. 2005. 20 April 2006.

Crawford, P.C.
“Transmission of Equine Influenza Virus to Dogs”
Science Express.(2005)

“Fast Facts on Canine Influenza” Pet Columns at CVM at UIUC

Dog Flu Researched by:

Ask a Vet for Free 24/7