An entirely new strain of influenza virus that affects dogs is causing illness and deaths in the Chicago area. This new strain is called H3N2, and is just different enough from the H3N8 strain that the vaccine for H3N8 may not be protective. Neither virus causes human disease, however, the newly-identified canine H3N2 virus also causes disease in cats.
So far, testing at the University of Georgia Laboratories has not detected canine influenza virus in dog cases from the state of Georgia. Respiratory illnesses may be caused by many other agents, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, Canine adenovirus-2, and Mycoplasma, as well as allergies, heartworms, and cancer. It’s important to see a vet if your furry friend is having trouble breathing or coughing repeatedly.
Listen out for news regarding any cases of this new strain of flu in our area, as well as the latest recommendations on vaccinating to protect your pet.