Canine Influenza Virus


The virus that causes dog flu, Influenza Type A (H3N8), was first identified in Florida in 2004. It primarily infects the respiratory system and is extremely contagious. A vaccine was granted full license by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2009 (Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8). Some dogs can be exposed to the virus and fight off infection without showing clinical signs.

Symptoms and Types

Dogs that are contaminated with the canine influenza virus may build up two different syndromes:

  • Mild – These dogs will have a cough that is typically moist and can have nasal release. Sometimes, it will be to a greater extent a dry cough. In most cases, the side effects will last 10 to 30 days and ordinarily will go away all on its own.
  • Severe – Generally, these dogs have a high fever (over 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and develop signs rapidly. Pneumonia, particularly hemorrhagic pneumonia, can develop. The influenza virus affects the vessels in the lungs, so the dog may hack up blood and experience difficulty breathing if there is draining into the alveoli (air sacs). Patients might likewise be tainted with bacterial pneumonia, which can further complicate the situation.

General indications of these disorders include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • anorexia
  • fever
  • malaise

Red and/or runny eyes and runny nose may be seen in a few dogs. As a rule, there is a history of contact with different dogs that carried the virus.


Besides a physical, the veterinarian will want to perform a complete blood count and clinical chemistry on the dog. Usually, increases are seen in the white blood cells, specifically the neutrophils, a white blood cell that is destructive to microorganisms. X-rays (radiographs) can be taken of the dog’s lungs to characterize the type of pneumonia. Detecting the virus itself is very difficult and is usually not recommended. There is a blood (serological) test that can support a canine influenza diagnosis. In most cases, a blood sample is taken after initial symptoms develop and then again two to three weeks later.


The mild form is normally treated with cough suppressants. Antibiotics may be utilized if there is an secondary bacterial infection. Rest and separation from other dogs is additionally vital. The more severe form needs to be dealt with aggressively with a wide range of antibiotics, liquids and other general support medications. Hospitalization and seclusion are important until the dog is stable.

Living and Management

An vaccine for the canine influenza virus is presently available, however it ought to just be considered in the wake of talking with your veterinarian. What’s more, there are other respiratory conditions that can be vaccinated against, particularly Bordetella bronchiseptica, the virus of which is usually the cause of “kennel cough.”

Any dog that is suspected to have canine influenza ought to be detached from different dogs. Those dogs with the mild type of the infection for the most part recover all alone. Canine influenza is not a disease issue for humans or different species.

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