Around 12 dogs are being treated now at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville for the canine influenza virus.
There is confirmation that it is indeed dog flu that has sickened these dogs, both the IDEXX diagnostic laboratory and Cornell indicate about half the dogs are positive for the H3N2 stain of flu, which the strain discovered in 2015. It’s assumed testing will also return positive for the remaining dogs, as those test results just haven’t come back.
It appears that all the dogs being treated recently participated in dog shows in Perry, GA or Deland, FL, or live with dogs who competed in either dog show.
While 12 dogs may not seem like a lot, consider these factors: Other dogs living in the same household as the dog show dogs may still come down with flu; both show dogs and dogs living with show dogs likely infected other dogs who have yet to get sick; abut 20 percent of dogs with this flu feel great without symptoms but are still infectious – so there are likely other dogs around infecting other dogs and no one has anyway to know that. It will take a giant stroke of luck for other dogs to report being ill from flu within the next several days.
Making matters worse – consider the timing (the holiday weekend)….infected dogs may be likely to travel, and spread the flu anywhere.
The good is that these dogs being treat at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine are in excellent hands, and hopefully all will recover. No deaths have been reported. While not common, dogs do die of dog flu, particularly the H3N2 strain.
It’s ironic (and fortunate for these dogs) that the outbreak near this vet college, where in 2008 the H3N8 strain was first discovered. Of all veterinary colleges, it may be the University of Florida is most experienced at treating flu.
Clearly, if vaccination wasn’t thought about by dog owners in Georgia (Atlanta previously experienced a significant outbreak of H3N2 dog flu) or Florida, it’s a discussion owners of social dogs should definitely have with their veterinarian.
Here’s some dog flu info from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine