In Florida, veterinarians have discovered at least seven new cases of the highly contagious and potentially fatal dog flu, with six other cases awaiting results. During the past two years, the dog flu invaded ten states. The cases of dog flu were discovered at the University of Florida. In 2015, the virus infected about 1,000 dogs in Chicago and other states. This case of the dog flu is the first instance in current years in Florida. The dogs infected with the flu are in stable condition.
The dog flu, more formally known as H3N2 canine influenza, is caused by a variety of influenza virus A. Canines do not have a natural immunity to the disease and can spread rapidly between dogs. In 2004, a strain of equine flu caused the deaths of several greyhounds. The symptoms of the dog flu include a cough lasting 10 to 30 days which may include a greenish nasal discharge; high fever, and pneumonia caused by a secondary infection. If not treated, pneumonia can be fatal. The current strain of the dog flu was found in South Korea and southern China. Also, this particular strain of the disease may also be transmitted to cats. A vaccine is being developed currently.
This strain of dog flu, according to USA Today, cannot to transmitted to humans. Canines can spread the dog flu by direct or indirect contact in contaminated places including “dog parks, grooming parlors, and veterinary clinics.” Kennels can also be a place where the dog flu spreads quickly. The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine recommends to owners who suspect that their pet might have the flu to avoid the veterinarian’s waiting room and to use a separate entrance instead. This stops the spread of the disease. But doctors warn that their canine infected with the dog flu can quickly infect others by sneezing.
The International Business Times reported that most treatment for the dog flu is “supportive care” with giving the dog fluids and making sure it is comfortable. Infected pets can be treated at home. Only canines with a secondary infection should be hospitalized and treated elsewhere. Antibiotics may be prescribed by a veterinarian if a “secondary bacterial infection is suspected.” The Miami Herald reported that the number of dogs infected with the disease might rise. Marta Lista, a veterinarian at the Trail Animal Hospital, said that the dog flu would “not…be easy to contain.”
By Cheryl Werber