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Excerpts from the CDC from the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians

What is canine influenza?

Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus. No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. There are two different types of influenza A dog viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is H3N2 virus.

Can canine influenza infect humans?

To date there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza viruses from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with a canine influenza virus. However, influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change so that it could infect humans and spread easily. For this reason, the CDC is monitoring the canine influenza viruses closely but in general they are considered to pose a low threat to humans.

Where did canine influenza viruses come from and how long has it been around?

Canine influenza H3N8 virus originated in horses, has spread to dogs, and can now spread between dogs. The H3N8 horse flu virus has been known to exist in horses for 40 years. In 2004, however, cases of an unknown respiratory illness in dogs (initially greyhounds) were reported in the US. An investigation showed that this respiratory illness was caused by the equine influenza A H3N8 virus. Scientists believe this virus jumped species and has adapted to cause illness in dogs and spread among dogs, especially those housed in kennels and shelters. This is now considered a dog-specific H3N8 virus.

The H3N2 canine influenza virus is an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. Canine influenza A H3N2 virus was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007. This virus seems to have been an avian influenza virus that adapted to infect dogs and has since been reported in China and Thailand. H3N2 canine influenza has reportedly infected some cats as well as dogs. It was first detected in the US in April 2015. The canine H3N2 virus is genetically different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. It is no known how canine H3N2 was introduced into the US.

What are the signs of canine influenza infection in dogs?

The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.

How serious is canine influenza in dogs?

The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. This is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection.

How is canine influenza spread?

Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection, and illness tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Canine flu can spread to other dogs by direct contact with aerosol respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects, and by moving contaminated objects between infected and uninfected dogs. Therefore, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not expose their dog to other dogs. Clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.

Is there a test for canine influenza?

Testing to confirm canine influenza is available.

How is canine influenza infection in dogs treated?

Treatment largely consists of supportive care. This helps the dog mount an immune response. In the milder form of the disease, this care may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.

Is there a vaccine for canine influenza?

There is an approved vaccine to protect dogs against H3N8 and H3N2.


FAQ’s on Canine Influenza from our Campers’ Families (Please see above, for H3N2 and H3N8 specific information)

What ARE the symptoms of canine influenza?

The signs of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose, and fever, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.

Is there a test for canine influenza?

Yes, and if you suspect that your dog may have the dog flu, we suggest that you get him/her tested because there are other illnesses that may show similar symptoms.

Does my dog need the vaccine to attend Camp Bow Wow?

We are not currently requiring the vaccine, though it is highly recommended. We will continue to assess the situation, and the vaccine may become required at a later date. If you DO get the vaccine, please let our staff know so that we can update your records.

Should I get the vaccine?

That is a question to be discussed with your vet. If you do get the vaccine, remember that there are 2 strains, so you want to be sure that your dog is covered by a vaccine that covers both the H3N2 and H3N8.

Is the vaccine done by injection or is it given orally?

It is an injection that must be boosted after a few weeks. Thereafter, it is required annually.

Have any dogs in Myrtle Beach been diagnosed with canine influenza?

To date, no. There have been cases reported in North and South Carolina, but none in our immediate area.

What should I do if my dog comes down with these symptoms?

Get to a vet for diagnosis and treatment to help your pup feel better. Please then let your pup vendors know (example, play and boarding facilities, groomers, etc.)

What is Camp doing to protect my dog from coming down with the flu?

At Camp, we pride ourselves on ensuring that Camp is always as clean as it can be. We go above and beyond by using high quality cleaning products on all surfaces in areas where dogs go, including our lobby, play yards, play equipment, cabins, all floors and walls throughout camp. We also have invested thousands of dollars in a commercial grade dishwasher (that uses both cleaners and high heat to protect against the spread of germs) and another several thousand dollars in an ultraviolet system for our HVAC system that helps to combat airborne illness. These purchases are not new - they were made when we set up Camp, because the health and well being of our Campers has always been of paramount importance to us.

While we go above and beyond to ensure that our facility is clean and sanitized, please remember that just like child day care facilities, we can’t control all airborne pathogens. We urge you to monitor your dog for symptoms, and if you see symptoms, please DO NOT bring them to Camp (and if we detect symptoms at check in, we may refuse entry in order to protect the other pups in our care). If you believe your dog has symptoms, a quick trip to the vet can diagnose and get them treated so as to avoid further discomfort (or worse) for your pup and his/her friends.

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Parents also feel confident knowing their pet is well-cared for in our safe and secure environment:

  • All Certified Camp Counselors® are extensively trained in dog behavior, pet first aid and CPR
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