PetFirst Pet Insurance- Dog Flu Outbreak
Pet Care & Health

Dog Flu Outbreak Areas & Symptoms

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago

Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is respiratory disease that is highly contagious and is currently spreading rapidly through many Midwest and Southeast states.
States Where Dog Flu Outbreaks Have Been Reported:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas


While the dog flu initially only affected dogs, the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine reported in 2016that cats are also susceptible when a group of felines in a Northwest Indiana shelter tested positive for the virus.
Dog Flu Symptoms
Almost all dogs and cats are susceptible to the canine influenza virus and infection. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) notes nearly all pets exposed to the dog flu will become infected, and about 80% will develop clinical signs of the disease.  If your dog or cat is experiencing any of the symptoms below, it is imperative to get them veterinary care as soon as possible.

  • Cough (persists for 10-21 days)
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Eye Discharge
  • Reduced Appetite
  • High-Grade Fever (104-106°F)
  • Increased Respiratory Rate

Since canine influenza acts similarly to other respiratory issues (i.e. kennel cough), your vet can run a test to see if your pet is positive for dog flu, as well as detect which strain of the virus is present.
The Spread of Canine Influenza
Dog flu is spread through droplets of respiratory secretions from coughing, barking or sneezing. It can also be transmitted by objects the infected animal came in contact with, as well as people that have been in contact with infected pets. The virus can remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours. It’s important to note, 20% of dogs may not show signs of the illness, but are still able to spread the disease.
Isolation of any pets with symptoms or those that have tested positive is crucial, and the AVMA recommends 4 weeks of isolation to prevent transmission. All objects and surfaces the infected pet came in contact with should be properly disinfected, and any person in contact with the animal should wash their hands and clothing to avoid spreading to other dogs or cats.
Places With Increased Risk of Dog Flu Infection:

  • Shelters
  • Kennels
  • Doggie Day Care Facilities
  • Groomers
  • Dog Parks

Common Objects that Indirectly Spread Canine Influenza:

  • Kennel/Crate
  • Food Bowl
  • Water Bowl
  • Collar
  • Leash

The incubation period (the time between exposure and when symptoms first present) is between 1 to 5 days, with most cases showing signs 2 to 8 days following exposure, depending on which dog flu strain is present.
What Is The Treatment for Dog Flu?
Treatment for canine influenza is mainly supportive and trying to prevent secondary infections from occurring. Maintaining a nutritious diet and getting plenty of rest and fluids will allow many pets suffering to bounce back without issue. Most animals recover in 2 to 3 weeks.
Based on claims received from PetFirst Pet Insurance policyholders, the average veterinary cost for the treatment and diagnosis of dog flu is $645.52.
To prevent transmission to other animals, infected dogs and cats should be isolated for 4 weeks from other household animals, as well as from attending doggie day care, dog parks, the kennel or the groomer.
Secondary bacterial infections can occur, as well as pneumonia and dehydration.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting The Dog Flu
There are vaccines available for both the H3N8 and H3N2 strain of canine influenza, and your veterinarian can provide you with information regarding vaccinating your pet.  . The vaccines have been proven to reduce the severity of illness, as well as reduce the duration of symptoms and illness. The average cost of the dog flu vaccine, according to claims data from PetFirst policyholders, is $34.76.
For more information on the dog flu vaccine created by Merck Animal Health, click here

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