THE VIRUSES

First de­tected in Jan­uary 2004 among rac­ing grey­hounds in South Florida, H3N8 had caused out­breaks at 20 tracks in 11 states by spring of 2005.

EQUUS - - Barn Dogs -

So far, two dif­fer­ent strains of ca­nine in­fluenza virus have been iden­ti­fied: H3N8 and H3N2.

First de­tected in Jan­uary 2004 among rac­ing grey­hounds in South Florida, H3N8 had caused out­breaks at 20 tracks in 11 states by spring of 2005. H3N8 was orig­i­nally an equine in­fluenza strain that “jumped species” and is now well es­tab­lished among dogs. The virus has now been seen in 30 states and is con­sid­ered en­demic to Colorado, Florida, New York and Penn­syl­va­nia.

H3N2, orig­i­nally an avian flu, was first found in dogs in 2007 in South Korea. The virus was first iden­ti­fied in the United States in the Chicago area, and by April 2015 an es­ti­mated 1,000 dogs had been af­fected in Illi­nois and nearby ar­eas. By July, H3N2 was found in mul­ti­ple states, in­clud­ing Alabama, Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Ge­or­gia, North Carolina, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio, Mas­sachusetts, New York, Wis­con­sin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and In­di­ana. How the virus reached the United States is not known.

Both strains of in­fluenza pass read­ily from dog to dog via nasal se­cre­tions. This can hap­pen through di­rect nose-to-nose con­tact, by way of air­borne se­cre­tions and through con­tact with shared ob­jects, such as food and wa­ter

bowls

Both strains of in­fluenza pass read­ily from dog to dog via nasal

se­cre­tions.

and ken­nel sur­faces. Peo­ple can also trans­fer the virus be­tween dogs on their skin and clothes. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (AVMA), flu virus can sur­vive on sur­faces for 48 hours, on cloth­ing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours. It spreads most read­ily among dogs kept in close quar­ters, such as ken­nels, shel­ters, day­care cen­ters and board­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Nei­ther H3N2 nor H3N8 causes ill­ness in peo­ple, but horse own­ers ought to be aware of the pos­si­bil­ity of one type of cross-species in­fec­tion: The strain of H3N8 that causes equine in­fluenza may also in­fect dogs. “So if your horse sneezes on your friendly dog, the dog can get ill,” Dubovi says. “But that strain of the virus doesn’t trans­fer on to other dogs. And the ca­nine H3N8 does not go from dogs back to horses.”

H3N2 is not known to af­fect horses, but it can cause res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness in cats. “If you have dogs and cats in your home, and your dog gets sick, it could spread to your cats,” says Dubovi.

THE ILL­NESS

When a dog is ex­posed to ca­nine in­fluenza, the in­fec­tion in­cu­bates for two to four days be­fore signs of ill­ness ap­pear. Dur­ing this time, he will shed large amounts of the virus---in other words, dogs may be con­ta­gious be­fore they get sick. They may con­tinue shed­ding the virus for up to three weeks af­ter in­fec­tion.

The viruses cause in­flam­ma­tion of the lin­ing of the res­pi­ra­tory tract, po­ten­tially from the dog’s nose all the way to the bron­chi­oles in the

The same strain that causes equine flu may also in­fect dogs. “So if your horse sneezes on your friendly dog, the dog can get ill,” says Ed­ward Dubovi, PhD.

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