Canine Influenza, also known as the Dog Flu, is now present in our state of North Carolina. A recent outbreak at dog shows in Florida and Georgia are reportedly the source. As dogs have returned from these shows, some have shown signs of illness and tested positive for the virus. This includes dogs right here in Wake County.
Canine Influenza causes coughing and sneezing, fever, and usually is accompanied by a thick, snotty discharge from the nose and sometimes the eyes. If left untreated, pneumonia can result. Two fatalities from the infected NC dogs have been reported, both due to pneumonia complications from the viral infections.
The most dangerous thing about this virus is that it can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact, and once dogs are exposed, they will shed the virus and infect other dogs for several days before they start to show signs of illness themselves. So, dogs who spend time around other dogs in dog parks or grooming, boarding, and daycamp facilities are at VERY HIGH RISK.
The good news is that there is a vaccine available to protect dogs from this virus. It is now recommended for any dog that spends time around other dogs, especially in the scenarios listed above. Dogs who have not been previously vaccinated will require an initial and a booster dose, given 2 weeks apart.