Canine Influenza Virus (CIV H3N2)

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is an airborne virus that is one of the viral causes of the commonly known kennel cough (Bordetella). It is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Because of its methods of transmission, it means dogs that attend dog parks, boarding facilities, daycare, etc. are at a higher risk than those who stay closer to home and interact less with other dogs. Virtually all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected with 80% showing clinical signs and shedding the virus and 20% not yet showing signs, but still capable of shedding the virus and spreading infection. Symptoms of this virus include coughing, sneezing, fever, nasal discharge, rapid/difficult breathing, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

CIV can be spread through indirect contact. It is very important to keep up on disinfection and hygienic practices after exposure, as it can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, clothing for up to 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Dogs are most contagious during the incubation period – this is the 2-8 day period when they are shedding the virus, but not showing any symptoms of being sick. They do continue to be contagious for up to 24 days if infected, and it is recommended to quarantine the infected pet for four weeks.

Most dogs recover without complications; however, complications are possible such as high-grade fever, increased respiratory rate and effort, pneumonia, and, in extreme cases, typically as a result of other complications, death. Vaccination is an option to help manage this virus – being inoculated has been shown to significantly reduce clinical signs of disease and prevent lung lesions and mortality associated with the virus. When it comes to treatment, the mild form is usually treated with cough suppressants to keep the dog comfortable, while the body fights off the virus. Antibiotics may be used if there is a secondary bacterial infection. Rest and isolation from other dogs are also important. More severe symptoms or complications may be treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, IV fluids and other supportive treatments. Hospitalization and isolation are necessary until the dog is stable.

If you have concerns that your dog may have contracted some form of CIV, or that they are showing any of the above symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Written by Tracey Westhaver, Reception Manager

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