Since we first reported on the first confirmed cases of H3N2 canine influenza virus, or “dog flu” in Florida late last month, the experts at Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida reports the virus has been confirmed in a total of eight state, primarily in the southeast.
In addition to Florida, vets report confirmed cases in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois.
UF veterinarians give two big pieces of advice on preventing the spread of the virus: In shelters and rescue groups, trying to protect their dogs from coming in contact with sick dogs is key. This can be done by asking questions about the dogs owners wish to surrender, isolating dogs showing symptoms and taking extra precautions with dogs imported from South Korea and China.
In the community, vaccination is the most important tool for reducing or preventing influenza virus circulation.
Merck Animal Health and Zoetis have vaccines for H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). Two doses of vaccine must be given for optimum immune response. The doses are administered over a two-to-three-week period, and establish immunity within one to two weeks after the second dose.
Listen to my interview with Maddie’s Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD on the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show Sunday at 8 pm ET at AM 1380 The Biz in the Tampa Bay area or online streaming.
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