Canine Influenza – What You Should Know

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Doggy Flu (aka Canine Influenza) before, right? Well, if you haven’t we have some information about this disease that you should definitely know!

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The American Kennel Club has recently confirmed cases of Canine Influenza in dogs who have been to dog shows NC , SC, GA, FL, TN, KY, TX. Influenza is a highly contagious disease in dogs. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, lethargy, and decreased appetite. A dog may only have a cough or may exhibit all of these signs. Influenza is similar to Bordetella (kennel cough), but has more of a chance of progressing into pneumonia and possibly resulting in death. Symptoms typically last for a few weeks, but may continue for up to 3 months.

The disease generally has an airborne transmission, so being in the same room as a dog who has the flu puts that dog at risk. It may also be contacted through shared water or food bowls. A dog who has contracted Influenza is contagious even before he starts to show clinical signs.

There are currently two strains of canine influenza:. H3N8 and the more recent H3N2. There are vaccines for both and there is a combo vaccine as well. We at Great Falls Animal Hospital strongly recommend that dogs at risk be vaccinated for both strains of the flu. Dogs at risk include dogs who go to dog shows, dog parks, dog classes, boarding kennels, groomers, or doggie day care.



If your dog has never had a flu vaccine and his lifestyle puts him at risk, he will need an initial flu vaccine plus a booster two to four weeks later. He will be considered protected two weeks after the booster vaccine. Dogs who have already had this initial series only need a booster annually.

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If your dog is exhibiting any of the signs of flu, please isolate him from other dogs and make an appointment for our doctors to check him over. Let’s all do our best to help control this potentially dangerous situation. Many thanks to our own Dr. Cook for helping me write this article to share with you!

Til next meow,


Mason Paw Print