10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT H3N8 CANINE INFLUENZA
Adapted from an article by Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, June 2009
WHAT IS CANINE INFLUENZA?
Canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs caused by a
novel influenza virus (subtype H3N8 of the influenza A virus) that was first discovered in 2004.
WHERE IS CIV FOUND?
It has been documented in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
There is no evidence that canine influenza H3N8 currently infects dogs in other countries.
WHAT TYPE OF INFECTION DOES CIV CAUSE?
Canine influenza virus causes an acute respiratory infection in dogs.
It is one of several viruses and bacteria that are associated with canine infectious respiratory disease,
or what is commonly referred to as ?kennel cough.?
Infections can occur year round.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CIV?
The symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge. There may be brief, transient fever.
Almost every dog exposed to the canine influenza virus becomes infected; about 80% develop a flu-like illness,
and another 20% do not become sick. Most dogs recover within two weeks without complications.
Some dogs do develop pneumonia, usually due to secondary bacterial infections.
The death rate for canine influenza is very low, but if secondary pneumonia develops,
the fatality rate increases. There is no evidence that dogs of a specific age or
breed are more susceptible to developing pneumonia.
WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO CIV?
Dogs of any breed, age or vaccination status are susceptible to infection. The canine influenza virus is novel to the canine population,
and dogs lack preexisting immunity at this time. It is likely that dogs that recover from infection retain immunity for some period of time,
although we do not know yet for how long. Canine influenza virus does not infect people and there is no documentation
that cats or birds have become infected by exposure to dogs with CI.Canine influenza is most likely to spread in
facilities where dogs are housed together and where there is a high turnover of dogs in and out of the facility.
Dogs in shelters, boarding and training facilities, day care centers, veterinary clinics, pet stores and grooming parlors are
at the highest risk for exposure to the virus, especially if these facilities are located in communities where the virus is prevalent.
Dogs that mostly stay at home and in their neighborhoods are at low risk.
HOW IS CIV TRANSMITTED?
Most transmission occurs by direct contact with infected
dogs and by aerosols generated by coughing and sneezing. The virus can also contaminate kennel
surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle
infected dogs. The virus can be rendered inactive by washing hands, clothes, and other items with soap and water.
HOW IS CIV TREATED?
Since canine influenza is a viral infection, treatment consists mostly of supportive care while the virus runs its course.
Sometimes antibiotics are given for secondary bacterial infections. Rarely, dogs will require more intensive care in a hospital.
IS CIV CONTAGIOUS?
Canine influenza is highly contagious. Infected dogs shed virus in their respiratory secretions for 7 to 10 days,
during which time the dog is contagious to other dogs. They can spread the virus even if they do not show clinical signs.
It is recommended that dogs with canine influenza be isolated from other dogs for two weeks.
The canine influenza virus does not cause a permanent infection.
HOW IS CIV DIAGNOSED?
It is not possible to diagnose canine influenza simply based on clinical signs. For dogs that are sick for less than four days, swabs from
the nose or throat can be submitted to a diagnostic laboratory and a test run. The most accurate test recommended to confirm
canine influenza infection requires collection of a blood sample during the first week of illness and another taken 10 to 14 days later.
The paired serum samples are sent to the laboratory to measure antibodies formed against the CIV.
IS THERE A VACCINE FOR CIV?
In May 2009, the USDA conditionally approved the first influenza vaccine for dogs, developed by
Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health Corporation. The vaccine contains inactivated whole virus,
so there is no chance that the vaccine itself can cause respiratory infection. At this time, there is no long-term data available
regarding the effectiveness or safety of this vaccine. The vaccine appears to be safe; during tests to evaluate performance there were
no side effects or safety issues in a field trial that included 700 dogs ranging in age from six weeks to ten years and representing thirty breeds.
The vaccine is intended as an aid in the control of disease associated with CIV infection. Although the vaccine will not prevent infection,
trials have shown that vaccination significantly reduces the severity and duration of clinical illness, including the incidence and severity of
damage to the lungs. In addition, the vaccine reduces the amount of virus shed and shortens the shedding interval.
This means that vaccinated dogs that become infected are less likely to have severe symptoms and are not as contagious to other dogs.
The canine influenza vaccine is a ?lifestyle? vaccine in that it is intended for dogs at risk for exposure to
CIV including those that participate in activities with many other dogs or those housed in communal facilities, particularly in
communities where the virus is prevalent. Dogs that may benefit from canine influenza vaccination include those that are
already receiving the kennel cough vaccine for Bordetella because the risk groups are the same.
HEALTH AND SAFETY FEATURES AT SENECA HILL
In our fully-enclosed building twenty-four heating and air conditioning units provide year-round comfort and COMPLETE
air changes every five minutes. Ultra-violet lights in all ducts help kill airborne microbes.
To eliminate germ collection areas, the Resort was designed without gutters and exposed concrete.
Two maintenance teams, using power floor scrubbers with microbial washes, clean our building from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm every day.