H3N2 Strain Of Dog Influenza Quickly Spreading Across The U.S.
Beware, dog lovers! According to the AVMA, there’s a new, highly contagious strain of canine flu that has already affected thousands of dogs across the United States. Reports claim that the virus, which initially broke out in April 2015 in Chicago, has been identified as the H3N2 strain of canine influenza.
Professor Jim Evermann of infectious diseases at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory said in a press release that the first animals to catch the disease are often the oldest ones, as well as the youngest. So, if you’ve just adopted a pup, make sure to limit their exposure to other, possibly infected dogs. You might just be saving their life.
Evermann also advised all dog owners to make sure that their animals have been vaccinated against canine distemper, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus. While canine flu proves fatal in fewer than 10 percent of cases in dogs, it’s a possible gateway to pneumonia, an illness that can indeed result in death. The recovery period for this disease is two to three weeks, which is plenty of time for such a virus to take a heavy toll on vulnerable animals such as pups and old dogs.
This strain of influenza is one of two that can cause canine flu in dogs. There’s another strain named H3N8, which was initially sighted in the U.S. way back in 2004. It’s a virus that is closely related to the one that affects horses, so it’s possible that this virus has mutated to be able to target canines as well. H3N2 is believed to have initially emerged in Asia since a myriad of cases has been documented in China, Korea and Thailand. Likewise, veterinarian experts think that this virus mutated from a strain of avian influenza (bird flu).
As for the symptoms of dog flu, if coughing, reduced appetite and nose discharge are the only signs you notice, you’re in luck, as this indicates that your pup is suffering from the milder type of influenza. There’s a more severe type that is characterized by high fever (104 degrees F. and more) and secondary bacterial infection, so it’s very important that your pooch sees a vet the moment you notice these symptoms.