The epidemic H3N2 canine flu virus continues to spread across the United States. Cases were recently reported in Texas and Georgia, and according to Cornell University, the flu has been confirmed in 10 other states: Illinois (more than 1,500 dogs have been infected in the Chicago area); Alabama; California; Indiana; Iowa; New York; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Jersey; and Wisconsin.
Most at risk for becoming infected are puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems. While most dogs recover within 10 to 30 days, some have developed serious issues, such as pneumonia. Six dogs have died from H3N2.
People cannot get this flu from their dogs, but the H3N2 virus can be transmitted to cats. So far, no cats have been diagnosed with this flu strain.
“The virus spreads from nose to nose (or direct) contact between dogs,” Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told USA TODAY. “As people travel and expose dogs to other dogs with the virus, they will bring the virus back to their hometown. This is how the virus has spread from the Chicago area to Wisconsin, Iowa and Texas. Similar to how respiratory disease spreads at a daycare or airport — people sneezing and coughing on each other.”
Click here for tips on preventing your dog from getting the H3N2 virus.
Photo credit: Tony Alter