Officials with the Kennel Club of Texarkana have made the decision to cancel this year’s all-breed dog show at the Four States Fairgrounds over fears of new strains of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV).
The show was scheduled for June 17 and 18, and was to be a celebration of 50 years of the Kennel Club of Texarkana. This was to be two shows in one weekend with over 1,000 dogs representing more than 120 breeds.
For the sake of caution, officials have decided to cancel the show for this year, due to cases of new strains of canine influenza, specifically “H3N8” and “H3N2” strains. From the CDC Website,
The H3N2 canine influenza virus is an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. Canine influenza A H3N2 virus was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007. This virus seems to have been an avian influenza virus that adapted to infect dogs and has since been reported in China and Thailand. H3N2 canine influenza has reportedly infected some cats as well as dogs. It was first detected in the United States in April 2015. The canine H3N2 virus is genetically different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. It is not known how canine H3N2 virus was introduced into the United States.
We spoke to Dr, Jim Shively at Stateline Animal Hospital and he told us that he has not seen any cases of the new strains, but that it is spreading like crazy in neighboring states. He told us that he had been in contact with a network of veterinarians that are concerned over the rate that CIV is being spread. He shared an email regarding the subject that he had received on June 1 from the University of Florida, where experts believe this is just the beginning of something that could be very bad and are encouraging vaccinations for all dogs as soon as possible.
“I am sure by now you are aware that there have been curent outbreaks of CIV in Georgia, Florida, and now Monroe, Louisiana. Dr. Brent White has dogs he feels are likely CIV positive and has sent specimens to Cornell for testing.
Dr. Crawford from University of Florida, did a ‘Facebook Live’ session today and below are the summary notes.
- Still only communicating “over a dozen confirmed cases in Florida”. there is no central data collection in the state, so she cannot comment on what she has not seen. Feels the UF cases are only the “Tip of the Iceberg”.
- Highly recommends vaccinating all dogs. Reduces severity & length of disease/illness, but not guranteed to prevent disease in all dogs. Same as human flu vaccine.
- Best chance to prevent is to create “Community Immunity”, and vaccinate at least 70% of the dogs in the community. Would help to protect the exposed unvaccinated dogs.
- Expense of vaccine is far less than the cost of a hospitalized sick dog.
- Virus will live and spread for 8-24 hours, so hygiene/cleansing is extremely important. Clothing, hand washing, etc…
- Most dogs fall into a risk group. Dog show attendees at the highest risk, but high concern also for shelter dogs
- Has shown to infect cats
- Take home message: Prevention is the key, Vaccination is the best defense!
Just as we try to prevent the flu in us, we also need to pay more attention to canine flu for our pets. Look for these signs in your dog and others.
- Persistent cough
- Runny Nose
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
Some dogs may develop a more severe disease which could develop into pneumonia. If you notice any of the above symptoms contact your vet.
All dogs can get canine flu strains and are especially at risk in places where dogs gather…
- Dog parks
- Dog day care
- Boarding kennels
- Grooming facilities
- Dog shows or events
Vaccines have been developed for these strains of CIV and can help prevent infection, reduce spreading of infection, and reduce the risk of flu developing into pneumonia.
Talk to your veterinarian about canine influenza viruses and other preventable canine diseases.