Canine Influenza 101
Symptoms of the canine influenza virus can vary from mild to severe with pneumonia. Dogs can develop a moist cough that lasts for between 10 and 30 days accompanied by lethargy, reduced appetite, a fever, eye and nasal discharge as well as sneezing. In more serious cases, fevers between 104 degrees and 106 degrees can accompany pneumonia symptoms such as increased breathing rate and effort.
Officials said nearly all dogs exposed to the virus become infected, while 80 percent exhibit symptoms, usually mild in nature. Veterinary treatment consists of supportive care for symptoms with the fatality rate less than 10 percent.
The virus can be transmitted through the air or by contact with an infected animal. People and animals can pass the infection on to pets. Events and places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks, grooming facilities and kennels, are prone to virus transmission with the virus surviving up to 24 hours on soft surfaces and 48 hours on hard surfaces.
Vaccinations against H3N8 and H3N2 are recommended for dogs that often interact with other dogs as well as puppies and pregnant, elderly and immuno-compromised dogs. After the initial vaccination, a booster is required two weeks later with full immunity taking effect about two weeks after and lasting one year.
Owners who suspect their dog of having the canine influenza are urged to call veterinarians and arrange an appointment. Isolation procedures are recommended to avoid exposing other animals at the veterinarian to the flu.
For more information about the canine influenza from the N.C. Veterinary Medical Association, visit tinyurl.com/y9ud4pex/.
While canine influenza reportedly has killed two dogs in North Carolina, local veterinarians are not overly concerned due to the low prevalence and connection of the cases to out-of-state dog shows.
“If we find that we’re seeing more cases popping up in North Carolina or in…