The Hype About Flu!
What You Need To Know About H3N2!
The recent H3N2 outbreak in Central Florida has alarmed many pet owners. Here is some information on what you should know.
Ace recovering from an upper respiratory infection.The H3N2 virus was first discovered in Chicago, Illinois in 2015. Since then the virus has been found in more than 30 states, including Florida.
- In December 2015, Merck released the first H3N2 vaccine.
- PLEASE NOTE: the H3N8 vaccine, either from Merck or Zoetis, does NOT offer cross protection against the H3N2 virus. It is a different strain altogether.
- The vaccine may not 100% prevent the virus, but it will offer more protection than not vaccinating at all. If a vaccinated dog contracts H3N2, it will not last as long and the symptoms will not be as serious.
- The virus can survive in the environment for up to 24 hours but is easily killed with soap and water.
- The best way to prevent your dog from getting the virus would be to vaccinate against the H3N2 virus AND to limit your dog’s exposure to areas that they may socialize with other dogs like dog parks, day care, shelters, pet stores, dog shows, social events, etc.
- Testing is available if your dog shows signs of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy. PLEASE avoid contact with other pets if your dog shows these symptoms.
- The H3N2 virus can infect cats, but not humans. There is currently no vaccine for cats.
- Treatment involves supportive care, cough suppressants and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. Some dogs contract pneumonia secondary to H3N2 and require hospitalization.
The University of Florida has detailed information for pet owners here. https://vetmed-hospitals.sites.medinfo.ufl.edu/files/2017/05/Info-for-Pet-Owners-on-Canine-Influenza-1.pdf
Here at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic, we have been offering the H3N2 vaccine since it first came out in 2015. At that time, we made it a mandatory vaccine for all of our boarders.
If you wish to schedule an appointment to get your dog vaccinated for H3N2, please call us as soon as possible so we can accommodate you. If this is the first time your dog has received this vaccine (or if your dog was not previously boostered), they will need to return in 2-3 weeks for a 2nd vaccination.