Understanding Canine Influenza | Dog Smarts | The Watering Bowl

no cases of canine influenza have been reported at the watering hole or anywhere else in missouri. however, we wanted to share some expert knowledge with you.

so, we asked dr. bowen, a graduate of the university of missouri, school of veterinary medicine, to tell us what she knows, so we all know what to look for.

Reading: How long is my dog contagious with upper respiratory infection

dr. Bowen practices at the Brentwood Banfield Pet Hospital, not far from our Hanley location. In fact, his two dogs, Layla and Arnold, enjoy spending some cage-free time with us at the water fountain.

Before finishing her veterinary studies, Dr. Bowen worked as an assistant in the gerontology and public policy programs at umsl before working as assistant to the chair of the psychology department.

An advocate for Pekingese dogs, Dr. Bown currently resides in Maplewood with two cats, Maggie and Taz, to keep his two dogs company. And in his limited free time, he enjoys lifting weights, even competing in meets from time to time.

and we are happy to share what we learned from our very knowledgeable and comprehensive friend, dr. bowen.

what is canine influenza?

canine influenza is a virus capable of causing contagious respiratory infections in dogs. Prior to the 1990s and early 2000s, dogs were thought to be immune to “the flu.” The first reported cases of canine influenza occurred in 2004 when outbreaks occurred in greyhound racing groups in Florida. those dogs were found to be infected with a subtype (or strain) of virus that was nearly identical to the influenza virus in horses, known as h3n8. Canine influenza appeared to be a problem limited to greyhound racing, but less than a year after the initial outbreaks in Florida, reports of canine influenza in domestic dogs began to appear in Florida and New York City. since then, cases of canine influenza have been reported in several states and also in other countries with sporadic outbreaks reported every few years.

Recently, dog flu has made headlines for causing “dog flu outbreaks in Chicago and the Midwest.” There have been numerous confirmed cases of canine influenza during the latter part of March and early April, which we initially thought were caused by the influenza strain h3n8. last week, researchers at cornell university in new york reported that cases of canine influenza in and around chicago are actually caused by a strain of the virus closely related to influenza a h3n2 , which was first identified in 2006 and is a widespread cause of canine influenza in dog populations in southern China and South Korea. h3n2 has never been detected in the united states until now. There are several strains of H3N2 circulating in dogs in Asia, most of which appear to have originated in birds. canine influenza virus h3n2 has been shown to infect cats in Asia, but not humans. Veterinary Services National Laboratories in Ames, IA are working to better characterize the virus that has been isolated from dogs in Chicago.

How is dog flu different from what my dog ​​is already vaccinated for?

Canine influenza is an emerging (new) virus of dogs that has been present in the dog population for only about 20 years or less, and has not been a common or widespread cause of illness in dogs. As a result, most dogs have never been exposed to the virus and are therefore considered naïve to the canine influenza virus. a dog (or a human, cat, horse, etc.) is considered naïve to an infectious agent if the immune system has never been exposed through vaccination or contact with the infectious particle in the environment. the majority of the canine population in the United States is not protected against the canine influenza virus and would become infected if exposed. fortunately, most dogs are not at risk of coming into contact with the virus and, furthermore, not all infected dogs would show signs of illness (some dogs’ immune systems would clear the virus without having obvious signs of infection.)

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Vaccination against canine influenza has not been a common practice, because the probability of most dogs coming into contact with the virus is low. Dogs are considered “at risk” for the virus if they are in frequent contact with many dogs in a densely populated community setting (eg, shelters, kennels, day care centers, dog park, hospital waiting room, grooming , etc.).

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What type of infection causes canine influenza?

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Canine influenza causes respiratory illnesses, and most upper respiratory illnesses in dogs are casually known as “kennel cough.” “Kennel cough” is the name we give to any cough in a dog that may be contagious in nature (often based on recent housing history). however, most cases of “kennel cough” are not caused by the canine influenza virus; The most common infectious agents involved in kennel cough are the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza-3 virus. Other factors, including the general health of the dog (eg, stress, nutrition) and environmental conditions (eg, ventilation, crowding, etc.) may influence the cause of kennel cough; sometimes the virus or bacteria are just in the right place at the right time.

Most cases of canine influenza infections present like any other case of kennel cough, with a dry, hacking cough in an otherwise happy and healthy dog. The only way to know if your dog’s kennel cough is caused by the influenza virus and not some other virus or bacteria requires laboratory blood tests or sending in a nasal swab to detect the virus, neither of which are cost-effective or practical to do. Most cases of kennel cough are mild and will respond to initial treatment, so it is extremely rare that special tests are indicated. the main reason we would want to identify a specific virus or bacteria is when there are outbreaks or dogs with respiratory illnesses that do not respond to standard treatment.

As with kennel cough caused by other viruses and bacteria, the majority (80-90%) of canine influenza infections cause a mild infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, paranasal sinuses). it is much less common (10-20% of cases) for canine influenza infections to cause a more serious infection of the lower respiratory tract (lungs, bronchioles, trachea). Severe forms of infection are more likely to involve comorbidities (two diseases occur when another virus or bacterial infection appears). canine influenza virus is only one of several pathogens (infectious agents) that may be involved in the canine infectious respiratory disease complex. a rare but fatal syndrome of acute hemorrhagic (bloody) pneumonia has been reported only in greyhounds.

what are the symptoms?

Mild upper respiratory tract infections with canine influenza present with a strong, hacking cough that worsens with exercise and may persist for several weeks to a month, but the dogs otherwise appear healthy. There is usually no runny nose or fever. dogs with a mild upper respiratory infection usually have normal activity levels, but may be mildly lethargic (tired). they usually have a normal appetite without vomiting or diarrhea. the cough can also be soft, moist, and semi-productive. some dogs will develop a low-grade fever, have decreased appetite, decreased activity, and produce a yellow or greenish nasal discharge with even a mild form of upper respiratory infections. Serious respiratory infections usually cause a high fever, decreased appetite and energy, and rapid breathing. these dogs are usually infected with more than one respiratory pathogen or have pneumonia secondary to the primary infection.

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How contagious is the virus?

The canine influenza virus is highly contagious under certain circumstances. the virus is easily transmitted between dogs when they are housed in close contact with each other. Contagious virus particles are shed from the upper respiratory tract of infected dogs for 7 to 10 days and are present in all respiratory secretions (eg, nasal discharge, saliva, including aerosols produced by coughing and sneezing). the important thing is that dogs are contagious for 2 to 5 days before there are symptoms of respiratory infection.

The virus can be transmitted between dogs through direct contact (nose-to-nose, nose-to-mouth, proximity play, etc.), and the virus is also spread through aerosolized respiratory secretions; a coughing dog can aerosolize and spread the virus up to 40 feet away. the virus can survive on objects and remain in the environment for several days, and infectious respiratory diseases can be spread through infected toys, bowls, leashes, collars, muzzles, and our shoes and clothing. the virus is easily killed with bleach and various common disinfectants.

How do you treat a dog with canine influenza?

All dogs that start coughing should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as there are many possible causes for coughing. Blood tests and/or X-rays may be recommended to rule out serious respiratory disease or other non-infectious causes of the cough. mild respiratory infections can be treated on an outpatient basis. Antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections. Expectorants may be prescribed to break up secretions in the lower airways so they can be coughed up. In some cases, a cough suppressant may be prescribed to provide relief and relief from a bad cough. additional treatments prescribed for minor respiratory infections are rest, rehydration, anti-inflammatory medications, and proper nutrition.

More serious respiratory infections may require hospitalization with intravenous fluid therapy and antibiotics, oxygen therapy, bronchodilators, nebulization and chest coupage, and other treatments, depending on the severity of the infection.

How common is the flu?

canine influenza is not currently a common cause of infection in the general canine population and, for that reason, vaccination against canine influenza virus is not currently indicated for most dogs. dogs. Over the past ten years (2005 to present), Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center has reported <3000 positive test samples for canine influenza (number of positive dogs would be less than positive tests due to paired testing or repeated testing, i.e. there have not been as many positive dogs identified in the last ten years). one of the manufacturers of the canine influenza vaccine reported that only 3% of coughing dogs in their study tested positive for canine influenza infection.

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why should we worry about the flu if missouri has never had a case?

Canine influenza is highly contagious, and we must assume that it is only a matter of time before Missouri sees its share of influenza-related kennel cough. Dogs have no natural protection against influenza viruses, and there are now at least two strains of influenza virus capable of infecting dogs in the United States.

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the flu vaccine may eventually be required for some pets in the same way that bordetella is currently required. At this time, the virus is not common enough to require vaccination, but if your pet is “at risk” of exposure, you should speak with your veterinarian to decide if influenza vaccination should be recommended for your pet. dog.

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Should I worry about putting my dog ​​in day care or boarding it in a kennel?

The benefits of daycare and boarding are tremendous for both dogs and their humans, and I am not aware of any immediate problems or increased risks that should prevent a healthy dog ​​from being in daycare or in the accommodation right now.

We want you to be aware and informed about canine influenza. There are currently no reported cases of canine influenza in Missouri, and I am also not aware of any outbreaks of canine respiratory illness in the area at this time.

The concern with canine influenza is infected dogs are contagious and shed the virus for several days before exhibiting any symptoms of respiratory infection. therefore, one asymptomatic dog has the potential to infect many dogs in a large group, with the majority of those dogs becoming symptomatic with a dry cough. some infected dogs can develop pneumonia and have more severe respiratory illness.

Although most infections cause mild symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog has any medical conditions that may put him at higher risk of developing a more serious infection if exposed.

What is the best way to prevent canine influenza?

keep your pet healthy from head to toe. Oral care, nutrition, weight management, parasite prevention and testing, routine blood tests, and proper immunizations based on lifestyle assessment are some basic but important steps you can take to keep your baby healthy. your dog as healthy as possible. a healthy pet will have a stronger immune system.

There is a vaccine available that protects against the canine influenza virus h3n8. Similar to the human influenza vaccine, vaccination is not guaranteed to prevent illness, but it may decrease the severity and duration of symptoms. At this time, we do not know if the vaccine provides some protection against canine illness strain of influenza h3n2 that appears to be in chicago.

Vaccination against canine influenza h3n8 requires a series of two injections 2 to 3 weeks apart. It will take another 1 to 3 weeks for the vaccine to provide any protection. Because it takes at least a month from the initial vaccination to provide protection, it is recommended that you speak with your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out if the canine influenza vaccine is recommended for your dog. Also, find out when your dog is due for the rest of the vaccines, specifically those that protect against respiratory infections (bordetella with canine parainfluenza, and canine adenovirus-2), because vaccinating your dog the day of or just before boarding does not provide great protection. j booster vaccinations at least 2 weeks prior to shipment, if not up-to-date, to allow for the greatest protection.

Also, do not allow your dog to come into nose-to-nose contact with other dogs on the sidewalk or in pet stores if you see them having a runny nose or actively coughing.

ask questions!

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