In 2015, the United States was hit by dog flu or H3N2 canine influenza, but this time it is targeting Florida.
On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced its first cases of dog flu.
In 2015, an estimated 1,000 dogs were diagnosed with dog flu in several U.S. states, including Georgia, Chicago and other parts of the Midwest. Fifty-five cases were confirmed in Atlanta, Georgia by June 25.
University of Florida veterinarians had reported treating seven canines and awaiting lab results for another six, since last week. Some of the canines required hospitalization, but all are in stable condition.
According to the American Kennel Club, dog flu symptoms can range from nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, lethargy, purulent nasal discharge and shortness of breath. Dog flu is not similar to human influenza, in that it is not a seasonal illness, which can range from mild to severe.
The complications of dog flu is pneumonia, which is typically treated with antibiotics and in severe cases, hospitalization with oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids will be required.
Dog flu has been linked to less than 10 percent of early death.
“It’s very contagious, so you have to be careful,” said Dr. Marta Lista of Trail Animal Hospital. “Most dogs don’t have immunity and they don’t have vaccines.”
According to FDACS, there is not scientific evidence that H3N2 canine influenza infects humans.
Until March 2015, the illness was restricted to China, Thailand and Korea. The first outbreak was recorded in the United States in Chicago, which was determined to be due to an H3N2 strain.
The AVMA recommends isolating affected animals for about 21 days to prevent transmission of the virus.