Highly Contagious Canine Flu Making The Rounds In Los Angeles

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Los Angeles County, California officials are warning pet owners that a strain of the canine flu is going around, and that they should be on the lookout for flu symptoms.

In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County of Veterinary Public Health has reported a total of 34 cases of sick dogs–those with symptoms similar to those of the H3N2 canine influenza virus, and warn pet owners to watch out for symptoms in their dogs.

As of April 7, five of the six dogs were laboratory confirmed to have the flu, and 29 more were suspected to have the virus, which is commonly found predominantly in Asia. The 34 dogs are under quarantine and/or isolation in Los Angeles county, and an additional eight dogs who were exposed but seem to present healthy are also under quarantine as a safety precaution.

Related: Highly Contagious Dog Flu Strain On the Move, Cases Reported in 2 More States

Officials have taken samples from several of the dogs and submitted them to veterinary virologists to determine whether or not this influenza is one that caused an outbreak in dogs in Chicago in 2015. In March of 2017, veterinary officials positively identified the H3N2 canine flu virus in LA dogs imported from Asia. Twenty-seven dogs exhibited signs of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever, and were treated. Two additional dogs were tested and positive, and most of the dogs have since recovered.

The H3N2 canine influenza is usually mild, and believe it or not, can also infect cats. The outbreak that begain in the Chicago area in 2015 spread to other parts of the country, as infected dogs are contagious two days before they begin showing symptoms, and are contagious for 21 days or more after. Typically, the flu is spread as the common human influenza viruses are–coughing/sneezing of the infected as well as exposure through bedding, floors, bowls, leashes and collars.

In most situations, like humans, it can cause extreme illness but not death. Sometimes, though, deadly pneumonia can be a comorbid issue, and can be dangerous.

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If your pet starts showing any symptoms, or looks like there is an appetite loss or depletion of energy and you are either in the LA area, or your pet has had contact with any in that area, officials are advising getting checked out with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

It’s a highly contagious virus to other dogs (no evidence of humans with the H3N2 canine influenza exists) so if you do believe your pet may be infected, keep him or her as far from other dogs as possible until diagnosed and recovered. More, consider vaccination if your dog has frequent contact or interaction with other dogs.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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