There is currently a confirmed local outbreak of H3N2 canine influenza. Reports of influenza cases began around 01/10 and significantly increased in number 01/15. Cases have been reported primarily from San Jose, Campbell and Sunnyvale.
The H3N2 strain of influenza Type A was first seen in the U.S. in Chicago in 2015. The virus is highly contagious and dogs can have mild symptoms that may be mistaken as so called “kennel cough” or more severe symptoms resulting in fever and pneumonia.
Influenza virus doesn’t survive in the environment for very long but does spread easily between individuals. Transmission generally requires contact with an infected dog but be aware that an infected dog is usually contagious before showing any symptoms of illness. Infected dogs can remain contagious for up to 3 weeks.
Vaccination is recommended for dogs having exposure to other dogs as can occur during boarding, grooming, doggie daycare, training classes and visiting dog parks. Vaccination against both the H3N2 and H3N8 strains with a bivalent vaccine is recommended. The initial vaccination is followed by a booster 3 weeks later.
Since there is now an outbreak of influenza in this area, any dog who is coughing and acting sick should be considered suspect. Besides a cough, symptoms can include lethargy, decreased appetite, sneezing and eye or nasal discharge and with pneumonia, increased breathing rate and effort can be seen. Testing and treatment will vary depending upon likely date of exposure and the duration and severity of symptoms. If your dog has contact with other dogs then best not to wait but rather vaccinate now.