The first case of Canine Influenza in Michigan this year was confirmed on July 13. Since that time, the cases seem to be rising quickly. As of August 7, 2018, 75 cases have been confirmed in Michigan, with Oakland, Macomb, and Ottawa counties reporting the highest numbers. And it’s starting in Washtenaw County
Canine Influenza Virus is a highly contagious respiratory virus. Common symptoms include nasal discharge, sneezing, and a severe harsh cough that may last for two weeks or more. Other clinical signs that may be observed include lethargy, decreased appetite, and a fever. In severe cases, dogs may develop pneumonia or require hospitalization. The virus is spread by direct contact with an infected dog, or by contact with a person or environment that is contaminated with the virus. The virus can survive in the environment or on clothing and hands for 12 to 24 hours. The good news is the virus is easily killed by most standard disinfectants, good hygiene and hand-washing, laundering of bedding and clothing, and washing of bowls and toys with soap and water.
Dogs who are most at risk are those that are housed in communal facilities, such as shelters or boarding facilities, or that participate in group activities. Cats have been reported to be susceptible to the disease as well. Clinical signs typically develop less than one week after exposure to the virus. Once infected, a dog can be contagious for up to four weeks and should remain isolated during that time.
There are vaccines that are available to help protect against two strains of Canine Influenza Virus, H3N2 and H3N8. Just like the human influenza vaccine, these vaccines may not prevent infection completely, but significantly decrease the risk and lessen the clinical signs if they do become infected. The HSHV Veterinary Clinic carries a combination vaccine that protects against both strains, and we provide this vaccine at our monthly Low Cost Vaccine Clinics as well. The first time a dog receives the vaccine, it does need to be boostered a second time 2-3 weeks later to provide immunity. Call our clinic at 734-662-4365 or go here to schedule an appointment to have your dog vaccinated.
If you’re concerned your dog has been exposed or has developed clinical signs, contact your veterinarian.