What is it?
A contagious disease in dogs caused by a specific Influenza virus.  Unlike the human Influenza it is not seasonal and can cause disease all year round.
Pets suspected of having Canine influenza should not be allowed into the hospital’s waiting room.  These patients must wait outside and shown directly into an exam room to avoid contamination.
Who is susceptible to it?
Dogs of any breed and age.  Canine Influenza is most likely to spread in facilities where dogs are housed together and where there is a high turnover of dogs in and out of a facility.
How does it spread?
By direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs, by contact with contaminated objects, and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs.  Infected dogs shed the virus in their respiratory secretions 7 to 10 days, during which time the dog is contagious to other dogs.  Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus for 14 days.  Clothing, equipment, surfaces and hands should be washed and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
Time line from exposure to signs?
Dogs usually begin to show signs of disease 3 to 7 days post exposure.
What are the symptoms?
Cough, runny nose and fever.  A small portion of dogs can develop severe disease including pneumonia and death.  80% of dogs will have a mild form of the disease.
Is there a test for it?
Yes!  Currently there are two different tests available.
  1. Two blood samples are collected (the first collected while the animal is sick and the second collected 3 weeks later) and sent out to the lab.
  2. A deep nasal swab is collected while the animal is sick and sent out to the lab.
How is it treated?
Treatment largely consists of supportive care.  This helps the dog mount an immune response.  This may include medications to make the patient more comfortable and fluids to ensure hydration.  Antibiotics may be used if a secondary bacterial pneumonia is suspected.
Cleaning the environment?
Clean the affected areas with bleach 1:30 dilution.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes!  The vaccine (Killed) may not prevent infection, but the severity and duration of clinical signs are reduced.  Dogs that would benefit from this vaccine include dogs that are already receiving a kennel cough vaccine.  The vaccine is given by injection and requires two doses 4 weeks apart with yearly boosters.
Risk for humans?
To date, there is no evidence of transmission of Canine Influenza from dogs to people.
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