Stay Diligent to Prevent Rapid Spread

Be Alert for Symptoms

The signs of Dog Flu (CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2) infections can be hard to tell from canine cough. Veterinarians are trained to diagnose the differences.

Common signs for Dog Flu: 8,30

  • High fever(103°F)
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough, which may be dry or may bring up sputum
  • Runny nose with clear secretions at first, but may later change to a thick and yellow and/or pink-tinged color

Dog Flu cannot be distinguished from other causes of acute respiratory disease based on clinical signs alone.8,9 If your dog shows any of these signs, contact your veterinarian and avoid taking him or her anywhere (other than the veterinarian's office) until a full recovery has been made.31

Clinical Diagnosis

The nasal discharge is typically clear initially but becomes mucopurulent rather quickly. The nasal discharge usually resolves with appropriate antibiotic treatment, suggesting that secondary bacterial infection is an important contributor to Dog Flu infection.6 Coughing may last for several weeks, even up to 3 or 4 weeks, regardless of treatment with antibiotics and antitussive therapy.2,6,11

Severe, Complicated Disease

In many cases, Dog Flu presents mild symptoms. But in some cases, including dogs that are high risk, more severe outcomes can happen.11 In a clinical study of Dog Flu involving experimentally infected dogs with no secondary infections, every dog developed lung lesions (pneumonia) by the study's end.3

High-risk dogs include:

  • Dogs in poor condition and/or are debilitated
  • Dogs currently exposed to other pathogens
  • Very young or very old dogs

Severe symptoms to watch for: 6,8

  • A high fever (104-106°F)
  • An increased respiratory rate
  • Severe depression
  • Anorexia

If you believe your dog is high-risk, or experiencing severe symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away to avoid long-term damage or death.

Red Flags for Dog Flu Infection

Dog Flu cannot be distinguished from other causes of acute respiratory disease based on clinical signs alone, and dogs of all ages are susceptible. A definitive diagnosis can be made using laboratory testing, but results can be delayed or difficult to interpret due to false-negative test results. For veterinarians, to learn more about how to diagnose Dog Flu, click here.

Stay aware of these red flags for Dog Flu to recognize the infection early minimize the spread to other dogs.2,8

  • Sudden increase in "canine cough" in an area. This affects most dogs, often in less than 2 weeks.
  • High-risk dogs recently introduced into an area—dogs transferred from an area with Dog Flu, or a recent of a dog from a group setting.
  • More severe course of illness than typically occurs with canine cough.
  • Dogs that are already vaccinated for other canine respiratory diseases.
  • Prolonged or complete lack of response to antibiotic therapy targeted at Bordetella, another canine respiratory illness.