On Wednesday night, Public Heath Seattle/King County posted that tests confirmed that 2 Seattle area dogs have canine flu and “all signs point to novel H3N2 canine influenza.”
On 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.”
Laboratory tests from two dogs that had contact with an ill dog who’d been at the facility were found to be positive for H3N2 canine influenza.
Again, Public Health announcement said that while test confirmed that dogs at the kennel did have canine flu, and it is waiting for further results to determine if the flu is H3N2, it expects the test to show that the dogs do have the H3N2 strain of flu that originated in Chicago last spring.
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.
“Now that we are getting the word out I expect that we will hear of some other animals through owners, facilities or veterinarians,” said Dr. Beth Lipton, a veterinarian with Public Health for Seattle-King County, told MyNorthwest.com.
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,” Lipton said. “But some animals will go on to get pneumonia, and some of those will die from it.”
Last November the US Department of Agriculture issued a conditional license for an H3N2 vaccine developed by two companies, Merck and Zoetis. Conditional Licenses are granted to meet an emergency condition and only applies to the efficacy (effectiveness) of a vaccine. 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.
Here’s an interview that KING 5 did with a local vet regarding the H3N2 virus: