KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed two cases of dog influenza in East Tennessee.
A release from the college’s virology laboratory said the samples tested positive for Type A influenza, but testing is still underway to determine if it is H3N2 influenza, a strain confirmed in other dogs in the Southeast.
H3N2 was first reported in Korea in 2007, originating in birds. It was then traced back to China. It emerged in the United States in Chicago in 2015 and has been documented around the country.
Melissa Kennedy, a veterinarian at University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine says a boarding facility in the Knoxville area housed a dog that had been exposed at a show in Perry, Georgia, where there was a confirmed outbreak.
“The population at risk for this virus is going to be dogs that co-mingle with other dogs, they go to boarding facilities, shows,” said Kennedy.
Animal Emergency and Specialty Center confirmed the infected dog was treated at the facility. The center’s staff isolated the three-year-old hound/mix when it arrived.
“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.”
Dogs with H3N2 have coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever. It’s usually mild and symptoms go away within a few weeks. Sometimes a may severe form with pneumonia may happen, but death is rare.
There is a vaccine and doctors recommend dogs be vaccinated before being boarded or taking part in shows or competitions. Dogs that are exposed to the virus should be isolated from other dogs for at least three weeks.