Several owners have recently inquired about reports of dogs testing positive for Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) in the Brooklyn area. Canine Influenza is a flu virus that is highly contagious with clinical signs similar to the upper respiratory signs of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (“Kennel Cough”). Infected dogs may develop a persistent cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and reduced appetite. Some dogs may show no signs of infection but may have a subclinical infection and still shed the virus.
Dogs generally recover in 2-3 weeks, though secondary bacterial infections may require antibiotic therapy, and sicker dogs may need hospitalization with additional supportive care.
Transmission of CIV occurs from dog to dog and poses a higher risk in areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels, shelters, doggie day care, and dog runs. The onset of clinical signs occur 2-3 days after infection, with a peak in viral shedding in 3-4 days post-exposure. Dogs that have been infected with CIV should be isolated from other dogs for at least 3 weeks to prevent the continuing spread of the virus.
The virus in not transmissible to humans, but cats, ferrets and possibly guinea pigs, may become infected.
Two strains of Canine influenza have been identified, H3N2 and H3N8, and over the years there have been periodic outbreaks of both strains in various parts of the United States. The strain most recently identified in Brooklyn is the H3N2 virus. Luckily, a vaccine is available that inoculates against both strains of CIV and is available at Williamsburg Vet Clinic. If your dog is at higher risk of becoming infected with CIV, we recommend making an appointment to get your dog vaccinated.
Please call us (718-302-1485) if you suspect your dog has CIV or if you have any further questions or concerns.