Confirmed Case of Canine Influenza in Knoxville

This week, Animal Emergency & Specialty Center of Knoxville treated a confirmed case of canine influenza in a dog who was boarded at a Knoxville kennel with a dog who had attended a dog show in Georgia.

This three-year-old hound became acutely ill with respiratory symptoms while boarding.

She presented to Animal Emergency & Specialty Center five days after symptoms began. Upon presentation she had a constant cough, trouble breathing, and abnormal lung sounds. The owner suspected exposure to canine influenza. Chest radiographs were taken and were consistent with viral pneumonia. Swabs were collected for laboratory analysis to verify whether this patient suffered from the flu.

Animal Emergency & Specialty Center’s staff isolated the infectious dog upon arrival, and strict quarantine procedures were followed to prevent the risk of spreading the flu to other patients. Treatment for the dog flu is supportive care, including fluid therapy and treatment of concomitant bacterial infections.

“Canine influenza spreads through the air, like most flu viruses,” Dr. Phillips of Animal Emergency & Specialty Center explains. “This strain can be fatal sometimes. Most dogs are not vaccinated against canine influenza, increasing the possibility of serious consequences from exposure.”

Our patient is doing quite well following treatment. She remains in quarantine at her home. Dogs with canine influenza are contagious for up to 21 days and are quarantined for four weeks.

If your dog is experiencing a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, or if you fear your dog may have been exposed to canine influenza, please call your veterinarian right away.

To prevent the dog flu, speak with your veterinarian about the canine influenza vaccine and determine if it is right for your pet. If your dog boards in kennels, participates in shows or trials, frequents dog parks, or otherwise is often exposed to other dogs, consider vaccination. With two doses given three weeks apart, immunity will build to maximal protection in five weeks. Your vaccinated dog may still contract canine influenza, but a vaccination shortens the length and severity of disease.