It is important to note that dogs that do not show clinical signs can still pass the infection to other dogs. The mortality rate of canine influenza has been reported to range from 1% to 8% in puppies and older dogs.2 Serology can be performed to confirm a diagnosis of CIV infection; however, samples must be sent out, so this diagnostic test does not help acute management.8
There is no treatment specifically for Dog Flu; treatment consists of supportive therapy. Intravenous fluids may be helpful. Antibiotics may be indicated in the case of secondary bacterial infection, with selection guided by culture and sensitivity testing.2,6
The pattern of a sudden increase in the prevalence of acute respiratory disease, severity of illness, or a lack of response to antibiotic therapy is one of the first warning signs of a CIV outbreak. It is important to recognize this pattern so that appropriate isolation and other precautions can be taken to minimize the spread of this highly contagious virus. In addition, a veterinarian should be consulted to ensure that appropriate treatment is implemented.
As with any infectious disease outbreak, management of canine influenza requires breaking the cycle of transmission among dogs that are infected and those that are exposed through:
- Early recognition, treatment, and isolation of infected or potentially infected dogs
- Environmental control procedures
- Education of veterinary professionals, kennel owners, shelter managers, and dog owners
Nobivac® Canine Flu Bivalent just recently was launched as an aid in the control of disease associated with canine influenza H3N8 and H3N2 infection. Canine influenza virus H3N8 is of equine origin and canine influenza virus H3N2 is of avian origin. These viruses are not related. Therefore, dogs at risk should be vaccinated against both strains.