We keep hearing about the dog flu. What is it? And should I be worried?

That is a great question, and a significant question since there have been many dog flu cases confirmed in Ohio. We at Springboro Veterinary Hospital are taking the dog flu (canine virus) very serious and suggesting dog owners do the same. However, there is no need to panic but there is a pressing need to educate dog owners and animal caretakers about the virus now versus later.

The dog flu (canine influenza) is a relatively new illness which is caused by two different canine flu viruses. Just like human flu, dog flu is highly contagious among dogs. What is interesting, in fact, unless a dog has previously had the illness and recovered, almost every dog exposed to the virus, will become infected.   Because these infections are somewhat new, dogs have no natural immunity to them.

What are the symptoms of the dog flu?

If your dog has any of the symptoms listed below call your veterinarian.

Common symptoms


    Lethargy (Tired)

    Loss of appetite

    A cough which may be dry or may be wet

    A runny nose with clear secretions at first, but can change to thick yellow and       pink-tinged- color

Severe Symptoms

    High Fever (104-106 F)

    An increased respiratory rate

    Severe depression


Can Humans get the dog flu?

At this time, there is no evidence that the dog flu is transferred to humans. Next month I will be answering questions about diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans.

Can my cat get the dog flu?

To be honest, I didn’t think so, but it appears they can. If you remember I said there were two different strains of the virus. Specifically, H3N2 and H3N8. Cats can be affected by H3N2. But these cases are only confirmed as of now in Asia.

How does it spread?

The virus spreads rapidly, especially at boarding facilitates, groomers, doggy daycares, dog parks and other spots where dogs spend time together.

The virus can spread by direct contact with respiratory discharge from infected dogs, through the air via a cough or sneeze and by contact with contaminated objects such as bowls and clothing or by people who have infected pets.

What should we do?

We selected to jump on this right away as we began hearing reports out of Columbus that made us nervous. And boy are we glad we did. As a hospital, we are recommending the dog flu (canine influenza) vaccine right away for those dogs who are around other dogs that could be infected with the virus. And we are requiring the vaccine for all of our doggy daycare clients, grooming clients and boarders to protect the pet and our hospital. 

Dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus.

If we have a coughing dog coming in we are treating them at the car. So please let your veterinarian know BEFORE your appointment if your dog has any of the symptoms associated with the dog flu.

If you have any questions please give us a call. 937-748-1378.