DOG FLU INFORMATION
Canine influenza has been diagnosed in areas of Chicago recently. It has been verified to be the H3N2 strain. This is a different strain than the vaccine (H2N8). The vaccine has only been recommended for dogs going to endemic areas, or other areas with large groups of dogs, like grooming and boarding facilities.
Dogs can be exposed to influenza by going to areas with high populations of dogs. It can be spread by toys, bedding, food bowls, aerosol (in the air), and direct transmission from an infected dog. There is a 2 to 5 day incubation period.
Influenza is difficult to diagnose. We have certain tests to run during different stages of the disease. Usually we would recommend PCR testing before symptoms, or titers two weeks apart after symptoms appear. These tests range from $110 to $130.
Canine influenza causes various symptoms or upper respiratory infection. Dogs can have mild to severe symptoms. They vary from coughing, fever, nasal discharge, and possibly pneumonia. There are other respiratory diseases that can cause these same symptoms, like bordetella (kennel cough), and parainfluenza.
There is no specific treatment for dog flu. Like the human flu, we treat with supportive care. That could range from antibiotics, IV fluids, ox ygen, and possibly steroids for severe cases.
Call the clinic if you have any questions or concerns about canine influenza.