Know the facts and learn how to protect your pets

Canine influenza known as H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus is a highly-contagious virus for dogs. Hillsborough County's Pet Resource Center urges you to be informed of the facts and know how to protect your pets during this flu season.

What is H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus (H3N2 CIV)?

H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus is a highly-contagious respiratory infection that is also known as "dog flu." This form of dog flu can be contagious for up to 26 days.

How do I tell if my pet has the dog flu?

Common symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, fever (>103.5F), frequent coughing, and decreased appetite. Symptoms can persist for two weeks or more. Some dogs can develop pneumonia from this and will need further care.

Where is my dog most at risk?

Dogs are at risk when around other dogs that may be sick or in areas other dogs hang out at. Dog parks, pet stores, day care centers, dog shows, and grooming salons are examples of places your dog can contract the dog flu from, if a contagious dog has been there. What makes this virus different is that it can travel up to 14' through the air and can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours.

How can I avoid my pet getting sick?

Vaccinating your dog is the best way to avoid him or her getting sick. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you with the two vaccinations needed. But just like the human flu, your dog might get sick after the vaccinations but it is much less severe and has a shorter duration.

You can also stop the spreading of the virus by washing your hands and your pet's bedding, bowls, and toys, if around other pets.

What should I do if my dog shows signs of having the dog flu?

Call your vet immediately to set up a time to bring your dog in. Don't bring your dog in without an appointment, and inform your vet of your dog's symptoms before going. The dog flu is a very contagious virus that you wouldn't want to pass on to the other pets at the vet's office.

How does the vet know my pet has the dog flu?

Your vet can only be certain that it is the dog flu by taking swabs from your pet's mouth and nose that will be sent off to be analyzed. It can take up to 5 days for the results to return. Your vet will more than likely instruct you to keep your dog isolated from other pets in your house while waiting on the results. The dog flu is mostly specific to dogs but can infect cats too. The dog flu is not contagious to humans.

What if my dog is diagnosed with the dog flu?

If it is the dog flu, follow the instructions your vet gives you to guarantee the virus is killed completely. Most dogs recover from the virus at home without any complications but will be isolated from other pets at home for up to 4 weeks to avoid the spreading of the virus. 

More information

Check out the CDC website for more information on canine influenza.

CDC Canine Flu Facts

Last Modified: 8/14/2023, 9:05:23 PM

Was this page helpful?