Late yesterday, Public Health – Seattle and King County confirmed that two dogs from a Kent kennel have H3N2, the new strain of canine flu that originated from Chicago last spring.
Here’s the announcement:
“Update 1/22/16: As we predicted, the two additional dogs tested from the Kent kennel were found to be positive for H3N2 canine influenza. This confirmation is a reminder to dog owners to keep a watch out for flu symptoms and if your dog is showing symptoms, keep him/her out of kennels, day cares, dog parks and other places where dogs congregate. Call your vet for guidance on caring for a dog with the flu and when you might need to take him/her in for a visit. Even though canine influenza cannot make people sick, dog owners can help the whole community by limiting the spread of this disease.”
Last Tuesday, Public Health announced dogs at a local boarding and dog daycare facility “began getting sick with respiratory symptoms, primarily cough” last month.
We now know the name of the day care/boarding facility is Holiday Kennels in Kent. The facility owner estimates about 80-90 dogs got sick. To its credit, the facility self-closed and “implemented isolation procedures to help contain the outbreak.”
H3N2 is extremely contagious, and some dogs will show symptoms in as little as 24 hours after infection, and it can be contagious for up to 24 days. Humans can’t get the virus but they can transmit it from one dog to another.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) said symptoms for H3N2 include:
- soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days
- reduced appetite
- sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose
- thick nasal discharge
“Most dogs who get it will get sick, but recover within a few days,” said Beth Lipton a veterinarian with Public Health for Seattle-King Count. “But some animals will go on to get pneumonia, and some of those will die from it.”
There is a vaccine for H3N2 that received a conditional license from the US Department of Agriculture last fall.
This means that while the USDA does have data “supporting product purity, safety and a reasonable expectation of efficacy”of the H3N2 vaccine, it hasn’t been tested as extensively as fully licensed vaccinations.
You should talk to your vet to determine whether or not you should vaccinate your dog, but take your dog to your vet immediately if it shows any symptoms of the virus.