As many of you might have heard, a canine influenza (A H3N2) is responsible for an outbreak of the Dog Flu reported in the Chicago area. We would like to clarify some concerns that we have been approached with concerning this recent outbreak.
Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. There have been two canine influenza viruses that have been identified worldwide: an influenza A H3N8 and an influenza A H3N2 virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no human infections with either of these canine influenza viruses have ever been reported.
A vaccine to protect dogs against canine influenza A H3N8 has been available in the United States since 2009. However, there is NOT currently a vaccine offered for protection against the A H3N2 dog flu virus which is the virus responsible in the recent Chicago and MidWest Dog Influenza Outbreak.
History of the Two Dog Flu Viruses
Canine influenza A H3N8 virus is closely related to an influenza virus found in horses for more than 40 years. Experts believe that this horse influenza virus eventually changed in a way that allowed it to infect dogs, the first cases being reported in 2004.
In 2007, a canine influenza A H3N2 virus was detected in dogs in South Korea. Experts believe that this virus was an avian influenza that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses.
According to our state public health veterinarian, there are currently NO CASES of H3N2 virus reported in Arkansas. We want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to keep as informed as possible about this situation. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at (501) 329-2064.