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Canine Influenza Update - Midwest and Southern Outbreaks:
This past Spring there was a major outbreak of a new strain of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in the Chicago area. Over a thousand dogs were diagnosed with H3N2 influenza which is a form of bird flu. This flu virus is believed to have entered the U.S. from Southeast Asia via rescue dogs. This strain is different than the existing dog flu virus H3N8 which originated in horses. Since the original Chicago outbreak there have been cases reported across the country with the most recent major outbreaks occurring in Georgia and Ohio. Cases have also been reported in Maine. Massachusetts and Vermont. It is not believed that there is any cross immunity for dogs already vaccinated with the H3N8 vaccine. Symptoms are similar to influenza that affect humans; animals develop a cough, get a runny nose, are lethargic, lose appetite and have a fever. Dogs with severe cases can develop high fevers, around 104 ºF to 106ºF, and may be at risk of developing pneumonia. It should be mentioned that existing respiratory diseases common to dogs such as Bordetella (kennel cough) have similar symptoms which can complicate diagnosis without laboratory testing. Since H3N2 is a virus, immunization by vaccination is the best form of prevention. Two manufacturers have recently been issued conditional approval of vaccines for the H3N2 dog flu strain. The AVMA is recommending vaccination of at risk dogs bases on lifestyle, meaning dogs that are kenneled, go to dog parks or daycare, etc.. Vaccination for both H3N2 and H3N8 is available at our hospital, please call for more information (485-7133). A more detailed discussion and informational links can be found on our website at www.allenstownah.com.
Here's a link to Cornell University's Diagnostic Lab update on H3N2 Influenza:
H3N2 incidence map by Cornell University:
Here's a very thorough informational page from the American Veterinary Medical Association website that discusses both H3N8 and H3N2 canine influenza:
Center for Disease Control CIV informational page: