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Episode Info:  What is Canine Influenza? with Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont. As travel season ramps up, you need to know and understand canine influenza and how to protect your pooch. Susan, Welcome to Bark & Wag’s 15 minute Vet Talk – It is a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice before we begin on the topic of What is Canine Influenza?   Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It  is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through barking, coughing or sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus. In early 2016, a group of cats in an Indiana shelter ​were infected with H3N2 canine influenza (passed to them by infected dogs), and the findings suggested that cat-to-cat transmission was possible.  Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats.  Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis  CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis ("kennel cough"). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever (often 104-105oF). Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite. Some dogs may not show signs of illness, but can shed the virus and infect other dogs.  Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian. CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 3 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later. Cats infected with H3N2 canine influenza show symptoms of upper respiratory illness, including a runny nose, congestion, malaise, lip smacking, and excessive salivation.  Transmission and prevention of canine influenza Dogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%). The spread of CIV can be reduced by isola...
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