The flu is an illness that can be debilitating to both humans and Animals alike. It is highly contagious and affects the lungs, nose, throat and other parts of the body. The spread of the illness can cause an epidemic and be severe to fatal. Recent news from Veterinary Practice News reveals the threat of a new Canine Influenza virus (CIV) H3N2 strain that has emerged initially in Chicago, Illinois in 2015 and is currently presenting a threat for dog owners throughout the U.S.

Veterinary information on the CIV H3N2 Canine Flu

The presence of the canine influenza flu outbreak surfaced again in late May 2017 at a couple of dog shows in Georgia and Florida.

Other states that showed cases of the flu strain outside of the dog show world include Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas. California continues to witness severe cases of the illness, and many argue that the strain of the H3N2 is still an epidemic in Chicago. During recent studies, it is estimated that at least 300 dogs have been affected by the flu that resulted in several confirmed fatalities.

The cause of the canine flu outbreak in 2017

Dr. Jerry Klein. Chief veterinary officer at the American Kennel Club (AKC) surmises that the epidemic of flu strain in the southeast culminated with the dog shows in DeLand, Florida and Perry, Georgia.

No one knows for sure how it happened, but Dr. Cynda Crawford, DVM, Ph.D., who is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville states that the H3N2 could have been presented to animals at the dog shows in numerous ways. The flu strain is in the environment, and with no immunity to the virus, dogs are open to exposure.

The canine influenza strain can spread quickly.

Suggested protection against the canine flu

According to Dr. Crawford, there are only two trusted methods of prevention against the canine influenza flu strain, vaccination or having an antisocial animal. She believes that all those involved in these dog shows, humans and animals alike should be vaccinated as a precautionary method against the illness.

The AKC is working diligently to ensure all handlers and exhibitors at these dog shows are educated on the prevention of such diseases and diseases such as H3N2. Vaccination is crucial. Because of its infectious nature, the hope is that the strain does not spread through shelters and other dog communities.

Vets question whether this canine flu outbreak will worsen or dissolve, but the fact is, lives have been lost. All dog owners are asked to protect their pets from the flu through a conventional vaccine. For the safety of your dog, contact your personal veterinarian and discuss whether your pet should be vaccinated and protected from the canine influenza virus (CIV) H3N2.