Dog Flu – Canine Influenza


Canine Influenza (Dog Flu) is an influenza occurring in dogs and canine animals. Canine influenza is caused by varieties on influenzavirus A, such as equine influenza virus H3N8, which in 2004 was discovered to cause disease in dogs. Because of lack of previous exposure to the virus, dogs have no natural immunity to it. Because of this, the disease spreads rapidly through individual dogs.

There is currently an outbreak of Canine Influenza in the Reno/ Sparks area. Because Canine Influenza is extremely contagious, it is recommended that owners avoid taking their dogs to public places for now. It is also recommended to vaccinate your dogs against Canine Influenza. Many boarding and grooming facilities are now requiring that dogs are vaccinated against Canine Influenza.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)


Dogs that are infected with canine influenza or dog flu can develop two different syndromes:

  1. Mild – These dogs will have a moist cough and can have an accompanying nasal discharge. Some dogs may develop a dry cough. In most cases these symptoms will last 10-30 days and go away on their own.
  2. Severe – These dogs will have a high fever and develop signs very quickly. Pneumonia can develop in these dogs. This influenza virus affects the capillaries in the lungs, so the dog may cough up blood and have trouble breathing. They may also be infected with bacterial pneumonia, which can cause further complications.

General signs of Canine Influenza:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Malaise 
  • Red and/or runny eyes and/or nose

Diagnosing Canine Influenza

Your veterinarian will want to do a full examination as well as perform a complete blood count and clinical chemistry on the dog. Usually, there is an increase in white blood cell count. You veterinarian may also want to take x-rays of the dogs lungs to characterize the type of pneumonia.

Treatment for Canine Influenza

The mild form is usually treated with cough suppressants and sometimes antibiotics. It is important that a dog with Canine Influenza gets plenty of rest and is isolated from other dogs.

The severe form will need to be treated more aggressively with a broad spectr


um of antibiotics, fluids and other treatments. Hospitalization and isolation may be necessary until the dog is stable.

How to Prevent Canine Influenza

A vaccine to prevent dog flu and Canine Influenza is currently available.  Call our office today to learn more about the Canine Influenza vaccine.


posted in:  Vaccines