Canine Influenza, H3N8

If you have ever been infected with influenza, you know how uncomfortable it can be. A runny nose, a hacking cough and a high fever make lying in bed with a hot bowl of soup an attractive proposition. Now imagine that your dog is suffering the same symptoms, but without the possibility of that nice bowl of soup.

Many people believe that the flu is a strictly human disease and that they don’t have to worry about their pets. However there is a strain that affects dogs. It is a known fact that dogs can contract canine influenza and pass it on to other dogs through direct contact. But the H3N8 flu can not infect people nor can a dog be infected by a person.

The H3N8 vaccine is available for dog infected with the flu, however, it is not a mandatory vaccine. In some cases contracting this virus can be fatal for the dog. The H3N8 vaccine does not prevent dogs from contracting the flu, but it will treat symptoms, make symptoms more tolerable, and keep the virus from spreading to other dogs.

There have been no recorded side effects for the H3N8 vaccine, however this vaccine is new to the market. Adverse reactions include mild fever, hives, and pain at the injection site. In very rare cases an adverse reaction could cause death. Symptoms of the canine influenza are similar to those of “Kennel Cough.” and so could be easily mistaken even by observant dog owners.

Canine influenza may cause canine upper respiratory disease, enlarged lymph nodes, cough, sneezing, and serous ocular discharge. Recovery for dogs which have been infected with canine influenza could take about 2-3 weeks. Canine influenza is much like the human flu and should be taken seriously for the sake of the dog. There has been no evidence of breed restrictions for the H3N8 vaccine. The good news is that the percentage rate for fatalities is less than one percent for all breeds of dogs. The canine flu is a virus, and it can cause pneumonia which can lead to death.

Dog owners who have dogs infected with the virus should take their dogs to receive treatment and get vaccinated. Dog owners should also provide comfort and support for their dogs during the recovery process. As in a human suffering with the flu, leaving a dog untreated can harm the dog and cause more illnesses to occur. Pet owners should be aware and informed for the safety of their dogs.