“Can my dog catch the dog flu?”

The answer to this question is most likely yes.

My personal dogs cross paths with other neighborhood dogs. I take them for walks in the Cleveland Metroparks. Sometimes they come to the local pet store to pick out a treat or toy. That is why they are vaccinated for Canine Influenza. I am currently recommending the vaccine for all dogs who could have contact with other dogs in this manner, or by going to a boarding, grooming, or training facility. I believe firmly that preventative care such as vaccination saves lives and prevents animals suffering from needless illness. That is why I do the job that I do and why I practice medicine the way that I do.

Through the years I have made the commitment to only recommend vaccinating clients’ pets with things that I would vaccinate my own pets with. I have made the choice to include the recommendation for canine influenza vaccine which includes two strains of dog flu into our practice protocols. Just like with human influenza, dog flu is catchy. All it takes is one rub of the nose on something that an infected dog recently touched to get infected. Canine influenza has a high rate of causing pneumonia once it has been contracted, which is what makes it so dangerous. The majority of dogs exposed to canine influenza will become infected. Luckily, unlike human flu, dog flu does not change it’s strain every year, making vaccination more straightforward.

Please read more information about Canine Influenza below or here, and call us with any questions, and to get your dog vaccinated!

EDIT: To help raise awareness about Canine Flu, we are having a FREE community event at Perk-cUP! Cafe. It will be Thursday November 2nd, 2017 from 6-7:30pm. Beer, wine and appetizers will be provided. for more information, click HERE.

Dr. Alice Toriello
MetroPet Veterinary Clinic

Dog Flu Facts:

  • Dog flu H3N8 first appeared in the United States in 2003 and since then has been diagnosed in 42 states.
  • In 2015, a new strain of dog flu emerged called H3N2, which has already spread to at least 30 states.
  • At least one strain of canine flu has been found in 46 states.
  • Dogs can spread the virus before showing any obvious symptoms.
  • About 80% of dogs exposed to canine influenza virus develop some form of the disease. Those that develop more severe disease are most at risk of death.
  • The H3N8 and H3N2 are both canine influenza viruses but they have different origins and are not closely related, therefore it is important dogs are vaccinated against both strains to ensure they are protected.
  • It has been reported that H3N2 infected dogs produce 10 times more virus than dogs infected with the first strain (H3N8), potentially making it more contagious. H3N2 may be shed for up to 24 days, which is longer than what is seen with H3N8.1However, both viruses can spread quickly among social dogs.
  • The viruses can be transmitted directly from dog to dog through droplets from sneezing and coughing or indirectly through saliva or other secretions.
  • There are no specific treatments for dog flu, so vaccination against both strains is the best way to prevent disease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Flu:

What is dog flu?

Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is caused by canine influenza virus (CIV) Type A. There are 2 known strains in the United States:H3N8 and H3N2. Most unvaccinated dogs are susceptible to infection by both viruses.

Which dogs are at risk?

Any dog can be at risk for canine influenza regardless of age, sex, or breed. However, dogs that visit doggie day cares, boarding kennels, and dog parks, or attend dog events are at more risk.

How is canine influenza spread?

Canine influenza spreads the same way as the common cold in humans.

Canine influenza viruses are most commonly spread through direct dog contact (sniffing, licking, nuzzling); through the air (coughing and sneezing); via contaminated surfaces (sharing water bowls or toys); or through contaminated humans (with viruses on their hands or clothing).

Where could my dog catch canine influenza?

The more your dog socializes with other dogs, the higher the risk of contracting canine influenza and other infectious respiratory diseases.

What are the clinical signs of canine influenza?

Most cases of canine influenza are mild. However, up to 20% of infected dogs will have moderate to severe illness.

What are clinical signs of canine influenza?

  • Coughing and retching
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal and/or ocular discharge
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

How can dog flu be prevented?

Vaccination is a great way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like dog flu. Call us today at 440-826-1520 to schedule a dog flu vaccination for your pet.