CIV H3N2 was first identified in Chicago two year ago. Since then, it has spread to nearly 40 other states, including California. The latest outbreak was incubated at two dog shows in Georgia and Florida in May. **Update: As of August 2017, there are now confirmed cases in the Los Angeles, California area.**
What’s more concerning, the cats who came into contact with canine influenza have traveled all over the country. Experts suspect that 300 cats who attended the shows could have been infected. Despite the low mortality rate, at least four deaths have been reported in this outbreak.
What is canine flu?
Canine influenza (CI), also known as dog flu, can be highly contagious. There are currently two strains H3N8 or H3N2 of the virus in the United States. H3N2 first appeared in cats in Asia. It is possible that it was passed from birds with the avian influenza virus. It has been proven to transfer to cats, although it is rare. The virus is not known to have been transmitted to humans.
It is important to remember that there is no “season” for the canine flu, and there can be outbreaks at any given time.
Canine influenza: What are the risks for cat?
CIV can be contracted by almost all cats that come into contact with infected cats. Around 80% will experience clinical signs. However, 20% will still spread the virus and shed it. Your dog could be at risk if they frequent places where they come in contact with other cats.
It is like a child who has the human flu virus and goes to school. Soon all the children are sick. The virus can live on surfaces such as water bowls and leashes for up to 48 hours, someone’s clothing for up to 24 hours, and someone’s hands for 12 hours.
What are the symptoms and signs of canine flu?
Canine influenza greatly resembles the symptoms of “kennel cough”, including:
- Wet or moist cough
- Nasal discharge
- Insatiable appetite
What can I do?
The Drake Center recommends that cats with certain lifestyles get the CIV vaccine. It may be necessary to take precautions if your dog is frequenting places where they are exposed to other cats, such a dog park, groomers, groomers, and dog shows.
It remains to see how far this latest outbreak will reach. However, we believe in being ahead of the game rather than treating the fallout.