Canine Influenza Information and Prevention

civ

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 coughing and 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, and sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.

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. Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, reduced appetite, and low-grade fever. 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 4 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.

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%).

Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians in Pekin, IL strongly suggest the following items to significantly reduce the spread of canine influenza:

  • Avoiding taking your dog to dog parks, social events, and boarding. Avoid interaction with other dogs to minimize the possibilities of being exposed to the virus. 
  • Isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness.
  • Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of canine influenza.
  • Use disinfectants when cleaning around the house and make certain to safely sterilize dog supplies such as food bowls, dog toys, and bedding.

There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. The CIV vaccination is a “lifestyle” vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks.


For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Strikes Chicago Metropolitan Area

canine influenza
Article published by Chicago Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

Chicago, IL – The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends dog owners take immediate, precautionary measures to prevent their dogs from exposure to Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). There is an increase in the number of severe respiratory cases which are being reported throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

Dr. Donna Alexander, Director of Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, is working closely with the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. Based upon the preliminary data from Chicago area veterinarians that has been reviewed and compiled by her through March 31, 2015, Dr. Alexander has stated:

“The summary of those hospitals that reported through the CVMA to our offices and those who reported directly to this office indicates that 73% of those responding note an increase in CIRD. For those that supplied exact number of animals, we can report that there have been 1,013 cases of CIRD since January and 5 mortalities. The age of the animals presenting vary but show more severe forms in dogs under 1 year of age and greater than 7 years of age. Few veterinarians are submitting diagnostic specimens for evaluation. Of those submitted for PCR or other testing, the majority came back negative, some are still pending. Of those reporting positive, 93% are positive for Canine Influenza.”

Information to date suggests that the canine influenza virus may be the primary causative agent associated with the increased number of severe respiratory cases currently being seen by Chicago area veterinarians. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the canine influenza virus, all dogs are at serious risk of infection when exposed to this virus. Even dogs exhibiting no signs of illness can be contagious, asymptomatic carriers to other dogs.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if they see any of the following symptoms in their dog(s): persistent, hacking cough, lethargic behavior, a poor appetite, nasal discharge, trouble breathing, or a fever. Testing for canine influenza is available, and best results are obtained from samples taken very early in the onset of the illness. Sick dogs should be isolated from other animals.

Dr. Brendan McKiernan, Director of the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana and internationally renowned specialist in respiratory diseases of dogs and cats, states that “Avoidance of exposure is the name of game for now.”

Due to the high risk of canine influenza virus spreading from dog to dog, pet owners should not allow their dogs to either socialize with other dogs or participate in any group dog training activities. Pet owners are advised to not board their dogs at kennels and to avoid doggie day care, dog parks, and grooming facilities at this time.

In addition to the canine influenza virus being transmitted directly from dog to dog, the virus can live on hard surfaces and fabric materials making these items contaminated as well. To help minimize the spread of disease, it is also crucial that everyone should observe basic sanitation protocols, such as washing hands after touching animals or handling any items like food bowls, water bowls, toys, crates, and cages. These items should also be thoroughly cleaned. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The canine influenza virus appears to be easily killed by disinfectants in common use in veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, and animal shelters.”

Vaccines are available for some of the causative agents responsible for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners speak with their veterinarian about available vaccinations based upon lifestyle and risk exposure of their pets.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

About Us 
Our Services
Setup an Appointment