10 Things You Should Know About Canine Influenza Virus (H3N2 and H3N8)

You may have heard about the recent outbreak of a new type of dog flu affecting pets across the country. This highly contagious and, in some cases, potentially serious respiratory infection is called canine influenza virus H3N2, or CIV H3N2 for short. This flu is similar to another strain, H3N8, that has already affected dogs throughout the country.

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV H3N2 and H3N8) 10 topics you should know

  1. How is it spread?
    CIV is spread through direct contact with other dogs, infectious respiratory secretions (such as aerosolized droplets from sneezing) and through contact with contaminated objects such as toys, bedding, human clothing and communal water bowls.
  2. How fast does it affect dogs after contact?
    Based on the results of a study performed for Vanguard® CIV licensure, it appears that dogs may begin to display symptoms of respiratory disease between 2 and 5 days after infection with CIV. It is important to note that in the same study, peak viral shedding was seen from 2–5 days, so it is possible that a dog with no or very early symptoms of respiratory disease may, in fact, be shedding CIV and capable of infecting other dogs.
  3. What are the symptoms?
    Symptoms commonly include: coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge and fever.
  4. How widespread is it?
    Canine influenza has occurred in more than 36 states nationwide. The first recognized outbreak of canine influenza virus in the world is believed to have occurred in racing greyhounds in January 2004 at a track in Florida from the H3N8 strain. From June to August of 2004, outbreaks of respiratory disease were reported at 14 tracks in 6 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia). Between January and May of 2005, outbreaks occurred at 20 tracks in 11 states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). The canine influenza virus has been reported in at least 36 states and Washington, DC. The H3N2 strain of canine influenza virus had been reported in Korea, China and Thailand, but had not been detected outside of those countries until 2015. In April 2015, an outbreak that started in Chicago was caused by an H3N2 strain that was genetically almost identical to the strain in Asia. In the period from March 2, 2015, to September 31, 2015, CIV H3N2 was found in 25 states.
  5. Can CIV be prevented?
    The first canine vaccine for canine influenza virus: H3N8 canine influenza was approved in 2009, and there are several H3N8 canine influenza vaccines available. In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted Zoetis a conditional license to supply veterinarians with Canine Influenza Vaccine, H3N2. VIP Petcare now carries vaccines for both strains in the package.
  6. What are the treatments for Canine Influenza?
    The only treatment for a dog that is infected with CIV is to provide supportive care. In milder forms this may include medication and/or fluids to ensure your dog is hydrated. Visit your Veterinarian for the best method of care.
  7. Is Canine Influenza the same as Kennel Cough?
    Canine Influenza Virus is one of the pathogens that causes Kennel Cough. The main distinction of CIV from other pathogens that cause Kennel Cough is that dogs will typically begin shedding virus before they display any symptoms of disease. Thus, a dog that appears perfectly healthy can be shedding virus and is therefore capable of infecting other dogs.
  8. Can CIV be transferred to humans?
    CIV is not considered a zoonotic risk at this time.
  9. How long after vaccination are they protected?
    Duration of immunity has not been demonstrated for any of the CIV vaccines that are marketed in the United States. When the decision is made to vaccinate for CIV, an annual booster is recommended after the primary series of 2 doses administered 2–4 weeks apart. The Zoetis Companion Animal Immunization Support Guarantee applies to any dog that is appropriately vaccinated for CIV and received Canine Influenza Vaccine, H3N2, Killed Virus* or Vanguard® CIV for the final vaccine. The guarantee provides coverage for 12 months and takes effect 2 weeks after the primary vaccination series is completed or at the time of annual booster vaccination.
  10. The good news?
    VIP Petcare now carries vaccines to help control the disease associated with CIV H3N2 and H3N8. Find the closed Clinic near you.

–From Zoetis