Canine Influenza Outbreak Information
The Influenza virus is a contagious virus that causes cough, nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy in some dogs. Many dogs that are exposed to this disease do not develop any symptoms at all. In rare cases, dogs can become very sick with pneumonia associated with the virus and it can be fatal. This is more likely in immune compromised dogs.
There are no confirmed cases of Canine Influenza in St. Louis. Dogs traveling to endemic regions, such as Florida, should consider vaccination for CIV. The Influenza virus that is affecting dogs in Chicago is strain H3N2, a different strain than this vaccine protects against. There is no test currently to identify it, therefore the vet school at Cornell hopes to have one soon. Treatment for this virus is symptomatic; up to 20% of dogs will show no symptoms at all. It is not known if vaccination for H3N8 Influenza will provide cross-immunity against H3N2.
Influenza is spread through aerosolized respiratory secretions and contaminated objects. It is easily killed with routine disinfectants in a kennel situation and hand washing between handling dogs. Incubation is 2-4 days post exposure; the dogs are most contagious and shedding the most virus during the incubation period; prior to onset of symptoms.
At this time the Doctors are not recommending vaccination for H3N8 unless traveling to endemic areas. As always, if you have any questions or if your pet is showing any symptoms that concern you, we will be happy to examine and care for your pet as needed.