An Asian Strain Of Dog Flu (H3N2) May Be The Culprit
According to a Cornell University Press Release, the dog flu outbreak that we have seen in Chicago is now being attributed to a virus closely related to an Asian strain:
The outbreak in the Midwest had been attributed to the H3N8 strain of virus, which was identified in the U.S. dog population in 2004 and has been circulating since. The H3N2 virus had not been previously detected in North America. The outbreak in Chicago suggests a recent introduction of the H3N2 virus from Asia.
As this new information is coming to light, what do pet parents need to know?
The symptoms remain the same; however, this Asian strain HAS been known to cause the same illness in cats. While there have been no reported cat flu patients to date, kitty parents should exercise caution with outdoor exploration, grooming and boarding:
Both Influenza strains can cause high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge, and lethargy. Symptoms may be more severe in cases caused by the H3N2 virus. Some infected dogs may not show symptoms at all. H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats.
What about the vaccine?
There are many unknowns regarding the use of the H3N8 vaccine for H3N2. This strain might respond or it might not respond. We simply don’t know.
It is not known if the current vaccine will provide any protection from this new virus. It does protect against H3N8, which is in circulation in some areas.
Preventative advice remains the same.
Other preventive advice remains the same: In areas where the viruses are active, avoid places where dogs congregate, such as dog parks and grooming salons.
Floofins & Co. will remain on high alert and will be sticking to our existing protocol which you can read about in our original Canine Flu Outbreak Blog.
Please help us keep all of our clients safe by canceling any scheduled walks or vacation care visits if your pup (or kitty) has a known case of the flu!