Understanding Canine Influenza

What is Canine Influenza?

Canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs. 

Causes of Canine Influenza

It is caused by two canine-specific strains of the influenza virus, H3N2, and H1N1. Dogs of any age or breed can be infected, but the disease is most common in young dogs and those not previously exposed to the virus.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza

Symptoms of canine influenza include:

  • runny nose
  • fever
  • cough
  • lethargy
  • eye discharge
  • reduced appetite
  • pneumonia (severe cases)

Some dogs never show any symptoms but can still spread the disease to others.

How Does Canine Influenza Spread?

The canine flu can affect almost all dogs, and the infection is often passed from dog to dog in kennels and shelters. Canine flu is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing from diseased dogs, or by direct contact with contaminated surfaces. As a result, dog owners should not bring their dogs near other dogs or cats if their dogs are coughing or displaying any other indications of respiratory disease.

Treatment for Canine Influenza

Treatment typically involves supportive care, such as rest and fluids, along with antiviral medication. Canine influenza can be deadly in some cases, so it is important to seek veterinary care if your dog shows any signs of illness. Your pet may need more intense observation and possible overnight hospital care.

Canine Influenza Vaccination

There is no vaccine available for canine influenza in the United States, but there is one available in South Korea.

Can Humans Get Canine Influenza?

No human cases of canine influenza have ever been documented. Canine influenza A(H3N2) viruses are distinct from seasonal influenza A(H3N2) viruses that circulate every year in people.

Canine Influenza Testing in Wesley Chapel

If your pet is showing symptoms of canine influenza or has been exposed to another dog that tested positive, seek veterinary testing and care immediately. In Wesley Chapel, we offer evening and weekend hours for dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets. Call us at  (813) 279-6500 to let us know you’re on the way, then we’ll see you at 27027 SR 56 in Wesley Chapel for your pet’s urgent care needs.