Definition of Canine Influenza
Canine influenza, commonly called “dog flu,” is caused by the newly emerging and highly contagious canine influenza virus (CIV). CIV developed from a horse virus that mutated, jumped species and at least for now spreads only among dogs. CIV is transmitted in the airborne respiratory secretions of infected dogs. Dogs can also get influenza when they directly contact bodily secretions of infected dogs on bowls, crates, floors, collars, hands, clothes, shoes or other surfaces, including the infected dog itself. Influenza affects dogs in close quarters, such as boarding kennels, shelters, day-care and grooming facilities and other high-density areas. Dog flu is not seasonal and can occur in dogs of any age, gender or breed at any time of the year. Because CIV is so contagious, most exposed dogs get sick within a few days. They develop a cough that doesn’t respond to antibiotics, a nasal discharge that becomes thick and green, and a fever. Severely affected dogs develop a high fever and pronounced signs of pneumonia.