Canine influenza, or dog flu, was recently diagnosed in a pet adopted by a Walla Walla family from a shelter in Central Washington, according to a release from Associated Veterinary Hospital.
The dog was diagnosed with the subtype H3N8, first identified in Florida in 2004.
There has been no documented outbreak of H3N8 in Washington state, but King County is dealing with an outbreak of a different, new strain of influenza, subtype H3N2.
The one case detected in Walla Walla is apparently unrelated to the King County cases.
Because most pets have never been exposed to influenza, it is very contagious.
The majority of dogs who contract influenza develop mild upper respiratory symptoms that can include a cough, low-grade fever and nasal discharge. A small percentage of patients can develop pneumonia and require more extensive treatment and support.
There is no evidence that canine influenza can infect humans, and therefore it is not known to pose a human health risk.
While there are vaccines available against both strains of influenza, they are not routinely recommended unless an animal is in a very high-risk situation.
The severity of illness and the number of animals likely to get sick are much smaller with canine influenza than with parvo, distemper and adenovirus. Protection from theses diseases is maximized by ensuring pets have their core vaccines, said Dr. Emily Perkins at Associated Veterinary Hospital in a news release.
“Puppies under 16 weeks, who have not had all their puppy vaccines should not be around other dogs, and avoid groups of people with other dogs,” she said.
“If your dog is showing symptoms, keep the dog isolated and seek your veterinarian’s advice if you have concerns.”
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