Tag: H3N2

Protecting your dog from dog flu.

Ensuring we are all fully aware of this terrible disease for dogs.

Back in January, 2016 I republished this article when it appeared on Mother Nature News that same month.

But it deserves a re-run. Firstly because there are many more dog lovers reading this blog since then (THANK YOU, EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU) and because the MNN editor has left the following note at the end of this update version: “Editor’s note: This file has been updated since it was originally published in January 2016.”

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What you need to know about dog flu

This highly contagious illness can spread like wildfire. Here’s how to keep your dog safe.

JENN SAVEDGE August 3, 2018.

Most dogs in the U.S. don’t have the immunity to fight off the Asian-based dog flu. (Photo: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock)

As animal experts around the country amplify their warnings about dog flu outbreaks, pet owners are scrambling to understand the illness and learn how they can protect their pets. The virus has been circulating in the U.S. since 2015, infecting thousands of dogs throughout much of the country. So far in 2018, dog flu has hit every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly disease.
What is the dog flu?

Dog flu — or canine influenza — is an infection caused by one of two virus strains: H3N2 and H3N8. Of the two, H3N2 is more commonly seen in pets in the U.S. It is thought that the strain came from Asia, possibly originating as an avian flu that was transferred to a dog.

Dog flu symptoms

Like the flu that affects humans, the symptoms of the dog flu hit the respiratory system causing coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. It’s also usually accompanied by a high fever and loss of appetite. But unlike with humans, your dog won’t be able to tell you how bad she is feeling, and you may not notice the symptoms right away. Animal experts say to watch your dog for changes in behavior. If your normally hyper dog seems lethargic or if your pup who is usually enthusiastic about eating starts skipping meals, it’s time to take a closer look.

Dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs are more likely to be exposed to the virus. (Photo: Dalibor Sosna/Shutterstock)

How does the dog flu spread?

The dog flu virus spreads just like the human flu virus does — through bodily fluids that are released into the air via a sneeze or cough or by touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated. The dog flu virus can live in the environment for two days.

Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs — in dog parks, kennels, shelters, groomers or veterinary clinics — are the most likely to contract the illness.

What to do if your dog gets the flu

Older dogs, younger dogs and dogs that are already sick are the most vulnerable when it comes to the dog flu, not because of the virus itself, but because these dogs are the most likely to develop complications, like pneumonia, that could be fatal. If you think your dog may have the flu, it’s important to check in with your vet to make sure he isn’t getting any worse.

At home, you can keep track of your dog’s temperature by placing a thermometer under her armpit, or for a more accurate reading, in her backside. According to the American Kennel Club the normal range for a dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.)

Keep the fluids going as much as possible and try to entice your pooch to keep eating. Check with your vet about foods that may prompt him to eat without giving him a stomachache.

More than anything, give your pet plenty of time for R&R. Give her a week or so off from running, walking and other forms of exercise and just let her rest and sleep as much as she needs. Just make sure that she is still drinking, eating a little, and relieving herself.

How you can keep your dog from getting the flu?

The best way to minimize your dog’s risk of getting the flu is to keep her away from other dogs. If you spend time with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and even change your clothes before interacting with your own dog. While humans can’t contract canine influenza, we can carry the virus on our hands and clothing for up to 24 hours after handling an infected dog.

You could also talk to your vet about a dog flu vaccine, although there is some question about its effectiveness as the vaccine for H3N8 may not offer protection from H3N2 and vice versa.

A potential pandemic?

A 2018 study showed that the influenza virus can jump across species from pigs into dogs, and that influenza is becoming increasingly diverse in canines. The result could someday be a dog-inspired pandemic.

There’s no evidence of any sort of transmission between humans and dogs, but if left unchecked, researchers believe that could one day become a possibility.

“The majority of pandemics have been associated with pigs as an intermediate host between avian viruses and human hosts. In this study, we identified influenza viruses jumping from pigs into dogs,” said researcher Adolfo García-Sastre, Ph.D. of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York in a statement.

For a dog virus-related pandemic to occur, it would have to be transmissible from dogs to people and it would have to be easily spread.

“If there is a lot of immunity against these viruses, they will represent less of a risk, but we now have one more host in which influenza virus is starting to have a diverse genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, creating diversity in a host which is in very close contact to humans,” said García-Sastre. “The diversity in dogs has increased so much now that the type of combinations of viruses that can be created in dogs represent potential risk for a virus to jump to a dog into a human.”

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Our dogs mean so, so much to us. Let us doing everything possible to keep them out of harm!

K9 Influenza Postscript.

More information for dog owners.

Jim and Janet are good friends here in Merlin and live just a short distance away. Jim is also a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and he emailed me following my post on Saturday about being more aware of dog flu. This is what Jim said:

Hey Paul …..
I saw on your blog that you had already posted info regarding canine influenza.  I don’t know if you needed any more material, but, if you are interested, attached is a client information sheet and a couple maps indicating the spread of the DZ as of 11/15.

That client information sheet explained these important details.

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Canine Influenza H3N2

Authored by: Dr. Mark Rishniw, ACVIM 
VP Client Information Sheets

What is canine influenza?
Influenza in dogs is caused by canine influenza viruses (CIVs). The two main CIVs in circulation internationally are H3N8 and H3N2. Dogs are occasionally infected with human influenza viruses. These viruses are extremely contagious. 

When did the current U.S. outbreak of H3N2 start?
The outbreak began in the Chicago area in March, 2015.

Where have cases been reported?
Geographic locations expanded in the months after the initial outbreak. To see the latest news on where it has been seen, see regularly updated information from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

What strain of influenza caused this outbreak?
The 2004 outbreak, which was caused by the H3N8 strain, has remained circulating in the U.S. dog population, causing sporadic disease since that time. However, the current outbreak has been identified as a H3N2 strain of influenza A virus. This strain is closely related to an Asian strain that is circulating in China and South Korea.

Will the influenza vaccines against the H3N8 (old) strain protect against the H3N2 strain involved in the current outbreak?
Probably not. The current commercially available vaccines are not likely cross-protective against the H3N2 strain involved in the current outbreak.

What about the new H3N2 vaccines?
These should reduce the clinical signs if a dog becomes infected. They will also decrease the time that a dog remains “infective” to other dogs. They will not protect against the old (H3N8) strain.

Should I vaccinate my dog with the new vaccine?
That’s a decision for you and your veterinarian. Any place where dogs unknown to you congregate in large numbers confers an increased risk to your dog, such as boarding kennels, shows, traveling, going to dog parks, training classes, and performance competitions. Dogs that have diseases or treatments that suppress the immune system (e.g. corticosteroids, cancer etc.) are at higher risk. The virus does not survive well in the environment, so there is little risk of infection if a dog is mostly at home.

Prevention
For dog owners living in the affected areas, the best prevention is to minimize contact with other dogs. Consider avoiding places such as dog parks, dog day care, grooming facilities, boarding, training classes, and group gatherings. Walking your dog should be fine, but avoid socializing with other dogs.

If your dog in the affected areas has respiratory signs, such as coughing, hacking, gagging or difficulty breathing, call your veterinarian before your appointment to let them know your dog has respiratory signs so that they can take appropriate precautions to minimize the possibility of contaminating the facility. When you get to the clinic, leave your dog in the car and have the veterinary team meet you at the car so they can figure out how to best handle the dog.

What are signs of infection?
Clinical signs range from subclinical infection, or mild fever and malaise to severe, life-threatening pneumonia; however, most clinically affected dogs have signs that are typical of kennel cough. Of approximately 1000 dogs recognized to be infected in the Chicago area, about five have died from the infection. Clinically, influenza infection is not distinguishable from kennel cough caused by other pathogens, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica.

How is canine influenza diagnosed?
Tests that broadly detect influenza A virus (e.g., broadly targeted influenza A real time RT-PCR) should effectively detect both H3N8 and H3N2. However, tests targeted directly at H3N8 are unlikely to identify H3N2 infection because of limited cross-reaction between H3N8 and H3N2 antibodies.

Can other animals or people become infected with this strain?
Currently, there is no evidence that people can contract this virus. However, studies in Asia have shown limited transmission to cats. Whether this can happen with the strain currently involved in the U.S. outbreak is unknown. In Asia, the H3N2 strain that infected cats (and caused disease) was considered to be of avian origin. Current information about the U.S. H3N2 strain suggests that it might be of porcine origin.

How are the dogs treated?
The mild form requires minimal supportive treatment, as is the case with ANY mild upper-respiratory infection (kennel cough). Cough suppresants may be provided. Antibiotic therapy is restricted to high-risk patients. With the severe form, treatment is largely supportive. A rapid onset of disease (4-6 hours) is matched by an equally rapid improvement in clinical signs if treatment is instigated. Fluid support and broad-spectrum antimicrobials that cover both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria are generally required.


Copyright 2015 – 2016 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Jim also included in his email these following maps in pdf format that I was unable to include in this post. Luckily I also found them as images originally published on the Dog Influenza website.

MAH_CIV-Map_2015_Overall_H3N2oooo

MAH_CIV-Map_2015_Overall_H3N8

Please treat this post as general information. If you have any doubt or queries about the health of your pet animals please see a vet without delay.

Being more aware of dog flu!

This article was recently seen on Mother Nature Network and is shared with you all.

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What you need to know about dog flu

Jenn Savedge

January 29, 2016
Most dogs in the U.S. don't have the immunity to fight off the Asian-based dog flu. (Photo: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock)
Most dogs in the U.S. don’t have the immunity to fight off the Asian-based dog flu. (Photo: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock)

As animal experts around the country amplify their warnings about dog flu outbreaks, pet owners are scrambling to understand the illness and learn how they can protect their pets. Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly disease.

What is the dog flu?

Dog flu — or canine influenza — is an infection caused by one of two virus strains: H3N2 and H3N8. Of the two, H3N2 is more commonly seen in pets in the U.S. It is thought that the strain came from Asia, possibly originating as an avian flu that was transferred to a dog.

Dog flu symptoms

Like the flu that affects humans, the symptoms of the dog flu hit the respiratory system causing coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. It’s also usually accompanied by a high fever and loss of appetite. But unlike with humans, your dog won’t be able to tell you how bad she is feeling, and you may not notice the symptoms right away. Animal experts say to watch your dog for changes in behavior. If your normally hyper dog seems lethargic or if your pup who is usually enthusiastic about eating starts skipping meals, it’s time to take a closer look.

Dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs are more likely to be exposed to the virus. (Photo: Dalibor Sosna/Shutterstock)
Dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs are more likely to be exposed to the virus. (Photo: Dalibor Sosna/Shutterstock)

How does the dog flu spread?

The dog flu virus spreads just like the human flu virus does — through bodily fluids that are released into the air via a sneeze or cough or by touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated. The dog flu virus can live in the environment for two days.

Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs — in dog parks, kennels, shelters, groomers or veterinary clinics — are the most likely to contract the illness.

What to do if your dog gets the flu

Older dogs, younger dogs and dogs that are already sick are the most vulnerable when it comes to the dog flu, not because of the virus itself, but because these dogs are the most likely to develop complications, like pneumonia, that could be fatal. If you think your dog may have the flu, it’s important to check in with your vet to make sure he isn’t getting any worse.

At home, you can keep track of your dog’s temperature by placing a thermometer under her armpit, or for a more accurate reading, in her backside. According to the American Kennel Club the normal range for a dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.)

Keep the fluids going as much as possible and try to entice your pooch to keep eating. Check with your vet about foods that may prompt him to eat without giving him a stomachache.

More than anything, give your pet plenty of time for R&R. Give her a week or so off from running, walking and other forms of exercise and just let her rest and sleep as much as she needs. Just make sure that she is still drinking, eating a little, and relieving herself.

How you can keep your dog from getting the flu?

The best way to minimize your dog’s risk of getting the flu is to keep her away from other dogs. If you spend time with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and even change your clothes before interacting with your own dog. While humans can’t contract canine influenza, we can carry the virus on our hands and clothing for up to 24-hours after handling an infected dog.

You could also talk to your vet about a dog flu vaccine, although there is some question about its effectiveness as the vaccine for H3N8 may not offer protection from H3N2 and vice versa.

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If any readers have anything to add to this article, I would love to hear from you.

Let’s please keep all our dogs safe!