Canine influenza virus (CIV) is an infectious disease of dogs that causes respiratory symptoms. Discovered in 2004, the disease is extremely contagious from dog to dog, but there is no evidence that it can sicken people or other animals including cats. Most reported CIV outbreaks have been among dogs housed in groups including racing pets and shelter dogs. A vaccine against CIV is available, but it is only recommended for pets at increased risk of contracting the disease.
How Canine Influenza Virus Affects Your Pet
Dogs become infected with CIV through direct contact with infected dogs or through contact with infectious respiratory secretions. The virus is not very hardy, so it does not last long in the environment. This means that transmission requires fairly close contact between dogs. Symptoms appear on your pet two to three days after exposure, and CIV has two clinical syndromes. The milder syndrome is a viral form of kennel cough in which infected animals develop a persistent cough and other mild respiratory symptoms. This illness usually lasts between 10 and 21 days. The more severe and rare form of the disease involves a high fever and pneumonia. An infected pet can pass the virus to others for seven to 10 days after symptoms begin. Twenty percent of infected dogs show no symptoms, but they are still contagious to other dogs. Because CIV is very easily spread, all dogs suspected of being infected need to be kept away from other dogs for about two weeks after exposure to the virus.
Common Symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus
Symptoms of CIV infection include some or all of the following: Fever, Coughing, Nasal discharge, Lethargy, Difficulty breathing, Sneezing and Loss of appetite.
Treatments for Canine Influenza Virus
Because canine influenza is caused by a virus, the goal of treatment is to support the infected pet until its immune system can clear the disease. For a dog with the milder form of CIV, this means providing a warm place to rest, reducing activity, offering healthy food, giving plenty of water and using cough suppressants as directed by a veterinarian. Pet antibiotics may also be required if the dog develops a secondary upper respiratory infection. Dogs that develop pneumonia need more intensive care and often must be hospitalized. These dogs almost always require antibiotics for secondary infections. While canine influenza is a very treatable disease, dogs that develop pneumonia can die without proper care.
All dog breeds are at-risk for CIV, and there is no known connection between disease severity and any breed.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.