A Newer Strain Of Dog Flu Is Infecting Pups Around The U.S.
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The H3N2 canine influenza virus, a strain of the flu that affects our four-legged family members, is currently spreading across the United States.
Like human flus, the virus is spread from one dog to another. Social dogs, including those who travel, go to daycare or frequent the dog park, are at greater risk.
The virus has been traced to an infected dog from South Korea that was brought into the country through Chicago O’Hare International Airport last year, NPR reports. After a 2015 outbreak in Chicago, cases in at least 25 states have been reported.
This strain of virus appears to be spreading more quickly than H3N8, another strain of canine flu that has been detected in the U.S. for a longer period of time. The H3N2 is spreading faster, experts reason, because it’s new to America and dogs have yet to build up immunity to it, NPR reports.
Even so, fewer than 10 percent of dogs die from influenza, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and most recover in two to three weeks.
Mild symptoms of the illness include a cough, runny nose, loss of appetite and fatigue, and dogs suffering only these consequences recover on their own. Older dogs, puppies and dogs with other health problems are prone to be more severely affected by the flu, and may also experience high fevers, trouble breathing or pneumonia.
Two vaccines, Zoetis and Canine Influenza Vaccine H3N2, are recommended for social dogs to protect against the H3N2 strain. Owners should contact their veterinarian for insight as to whether the precaution is necessary or not. Owners should also schedule an appointment with the vet if their dog has a cough, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
There is no evidence that dog flu affects dogs’ owners, but according to the CDC, the flu is constantly evolving and the possibility isn’t out of the question.