Veterinarians are advising dog owners to be on the look out for any symptoms and take extra care in trying to prevent their dogs from catching canine influenza.
A number of states have already confirmed that they are affected by an outbreak of canine flu. This seems to be caused by a highly contagious strain, the H3N2. In some cases, this virus can also be lethal, and two deaths tied to it have already been confirmed.
The multistate outbreak was already confirmed in Florida, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee. It is also officially affecting Kentucky, South Carolina, and North Carolina. This is all according to the report released by the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Although it does not offer exact locations, this confirms the presence of the H3N2 strain in these eight states.
Canine Flu Caused by H3N2 Can be Lethal
The H3N2 virus strain is very contagious and has reportedly already infected some thousands of dogs in over 30 states, according to experts.
Reports indicate that cats in shelters also revealed infections with this strain, although this is an uncommon occurrence. Presently, there have been no cases of human infected by the H3N2 canine influenza virus.
Still, people can still transmit it, and dogs can also catch it from the environment if a sick dog sneezed around them. The most common cause of infection is the direct contact with an infected canine.
“It has the potential to be pretty similar to the human flu; typically has respiratory signs with coughing,” stated Dr. Travis Davison from the Bluffton Veterinary Hospital.
The canine flu symptoms closely resemble human influenza ones. They include frequent coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharges. These can last up to two weeks or even longer. Also, the H3N2 provokes a respiratory infection similar to a “kennel cough”.
Some dogs can also develop more serious infections and diseases because of the flu. Worse cases can turn into pneumonia and require specialized hospital care. Many of the dogs that get this canine flu make a safe recovery. However, in some cases, it can also turn deadly. Very old or young canines are most vulnerable to it.
Authorities advise dog owners whose pets exhibit signs of flu to take them to the vet immediately. There, they should be tested for H3N2.
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