Canine influenza, otherwise known as the dog flu, is a highly contagious illness that could potentially be deadly to your dog. Here’s what you should know about it:

  • The illness, also known as CI, is a highly contagious viral infection that can hit dogs and cats. It is a Type A influenza virus and two strains have been found in the U.S.: H3N8 and H3N2.
  • Dog flu can be transmitted through droplets or aerosols with respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing.
  • Dogs in kennels, daycare facilities and shelters are at higher risk of infection.
  • The virus can be viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours.
  • H2N8 has an incubation period of one to five days as clinical signs show two to three days after exposure usually.
  • The H3N2 strain has an incubation period of two to eight days.
  • The morbidity rate of the illness is 80% and the mortality rate is about 10%.
  • Canine influenza virus infects and replicates inside cells located in the respiratory tract from the nasal lining to the terminal airways, causing rhinitis, tracheitis, bronchitis and bronchiolotis.
  • Dog flu usually causes respiratory problems and it can happen during any time of the year as there is no dog flu season.

Take your dog to the veterinary if he shows symptoms of a canine influenza as treatment can help eliminate the illness in two to three weeks.

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