It has been confirmed that the H3N2 strain of canine influenza has been seen in a number of cases around North and South Carolina. Cases have been confirmed in Carteret, Davidson, and Rockingham in Wake County and a suspicious case in Wilmington. The original source of the virus is believed to be from dog shows in Missouri, Florida, and Georgia. To date, there have been two confirmed deaths from the virus, one in Raleigh and one from Morehead City.
Due to increasing concerns, and the severity of the virus, it is important for high-risk patients (dogs that will be in social situations; dog parks, dogs shows, and boarding facilities) to be vaccinated to help prevent them from being infected. Canine flu is airborne and is released through respiratory secretions from barking, coughing, sneezing and can also be spread through the sharing of water bowls, collars, kennel surfaces and through people who have had direct contact with an infected dog.
Symptoms of canine flu include; coughing, lack of appetite, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, difficulty breathing and runny nose. Similar to other diseases, the canine flu can have an incubation period where the dog is infected, but not exhibiting symptoms. If you adopt a shelter pet or bring home a stray animal, you should keep it isolated from your other pets for at least two weeks to ensure they are not harboring the flu or other viruses.
We, here at Independence Veterinary Clinic, are currently vaccinating against both strains of the canine flu; H3N2 and H3N8. The initial vaccine is followed up three weeks later with a booster. Please allow one week after the booster before exposing your dog to high-risk “social” areas. Contact us today at 704-841-1313 to schedule an appointment!