To halt the spread of the H3N2 canine influenza virus, also known as the “dog flu,” that has popped up in north and central Florida in the past few weeks, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine officials hope to create “community immunity.”
Dr. Cynda Crawford, an assistant professor of shelter medicine at the college, addressed concerns about the virus at a press conference held at UF Health Shands Hospital on Thursday morning. Crawford is credited with discovering the virus in 2004.
According to the Gainesville Sun, Crawford said the virus, which had a presence in about 30 other states before making its way to Florida, was introduced to the United States in 2015.
“This is a highly contagious virus to dogs, just like influenza virus is to people,” she said. “There is an eminent threat for dogs to be exposed to this virus in this state now.
“It is very important for both veterinarians and dog owners in the state of Florida to have a very heightened awareness of the presence of this virus.”
Dogs that tested positive for the H3N2 strain were present at recent dog shows in Perry, Georgia and DeLand or were exposed to dogs that were at these shows, Crawford said. She added that the virus, which is spread by direct contact, is the same strain responsible for the severe outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago in 2015.
Crawford said if your dog ex
hibits any of the symptoms, to call your pet’s veterinarian before taking your pet in for treatment. She said there is a vaccine for the virus and that infected dogs should be kept inside for a minimum of four weeks until they are no longer contagious. read more…