RALEIGH – North Carolina veterinary officials have received reports of several cases of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex that have been confirmed to have been caused by the H3N2 canine influenza virus. To date, all of these cases involve dogs that had been boarding at North Carolina boarding and/or dog day care facilities within the past two weeks.
Canine influenza is not a reportable disease in North Carolina, but veterinarians are asked to voluntarily report cases to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Animal Welfare Section at 919-707-3280 or email@example.com so officials can track the spread of this outbreak.
The signs of canine flu are cough, runny nose and fever and are similar to other respiratory problems. Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, reduced appetite and low-grade fever. Most dogs recover within two to three weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia.
Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian. Please notify the veterinary office that your dog has been boarding or in day care or has had contact with other dogs recently before you bring the dog into the veterinary clinic or hospital, said Dr. Patricia Norris, director of the NCDA&CS Animal Welfare Section.
The virus is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through coughing and sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dog owners should consider limiting contact with other dogs and visits to communal areas.
There are vaccinations for some of the CIRDC-causing agents but not all. NCDA&CS strongly recommends that if your dog will be coming in contact with other dogs and/or will be boarding at overnight or day care kennels, that you discuss what preventative vaccinations are best for your pet with your veterinarian.
Norris recommends that boarding and shelter facilities review their current intake, isolation, veterinary care, monitoring and sanitation protocols with their facility veterinarian to be sure they are taking adequate measures to control the spread of this virus.
In general, the agents causing CIRDC including canine influenza are not contagious to humans. The exception is Bordetella bronchiseptica; the spread of this infectious agent to humans is very uncommon and most likely to occur in immunocompromised people. If you or someone in your family is immunocompromised, please contact your physician for advice on any additional precautions you should take if your animal is ill from CIRDC or any other infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people and there has not been a reported case of human infection with canine influenza. Also, this strain of influenza is different from avian influenza that has caused the deaths of birds nationwide.
More information can be found at www.ncagr.gov/vet/aws/canineflu.