Canine Influenza Virus
Recently, we have been made aware of an outbreak of a new strain (H3N2) of what is known as the canine influenza virus (CIV), or canine flu, in Central Florida. It is very important to be aware of these alerts, take precautionary measures, and educate ourselves on what canine influenza virus is. Due to this recent outbreak, we are urging all pet owners in the Central Florida area to be extremely cautious and avoid public exposure to their pets. This includes avoiding bringing your pet to dog parks, dog beaches, dog shows, pet stores, restaurants, and any other social situations at this time. Please review these important key facts about the new strain of CIV H3N2 virus:
- H3N2 is a new strain of the virus that is different from the H3N8 canine flu strain we have known about for years.
- This new strain is much worse than the old strain.
- Transmission can occur up to 20 feet from a coughing dog.
- The virus can live on objects for up to 24 hours.
- The incubation period (meaning the onset of symptoms after exposure) is an average of 2 to 4 days.
- An infected pet can spread the virus for 7 to 10 days after showing symptoms.
- The H3N2 strain can lead to secondary bacterial infections, lung consolidation, and even mortality!
- An antibiotic is recommended if CIV infection is suspected.
- Cats can be affected as well, but there is currently no vaccine approved for cats.
- It has not been proven that the existing H3N8 vaccine protects against the new H3N2 strain. We highly recommend vaccinating your dog with the bivalent vaccine, which protects against both the H3N8 and H3N2 strains, even if your dog has previously received the H3N8 vaccine.
- The bivalent vaccine, in combination with avoidance, is the only way to reduce the impact of this virus.
- Atlantic Animal Hospitals, with locations in Port Orange and Ormond Beach, are pleased to offer the bivalent vaccine in light of the current outbreak. Please click this link to schedule an appointment and get your dog protected today.
We have also included the following link from the University of Florida to help answer some more frequently asked questions about Canine Influenza. Together, we can work to keep our pets healthy, safe, and happy!