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Apple Valley Veterinarians Warns Local Residents of New Strain of Canine Influenza

PLANTSVILLE, Conn., Jan. 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apple Valley Veterinarians of Plantsville, CT, is warning clients about a new strain of canine influenza caused by the Influenza A, H3N2 virus. It is highly contagious in community settings and has the potential to spread rapidly since virtually all dogs that come into contact with the virus will became infected and infectious to other dogs. Dr. Eric S. Rothstein and his staff are raising awareness about the new strain of canine influenza in the hopes that clients will recognize the signs of the illness early, and have their dogs examined promptly if symptoms develop.

According to the CDC, the H3N2 strain was first detected in South Korea and south China in 2007, where it widely circulated in dog populations. It didn't make its first appearance in the United States until about a year ago, when it affected more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area. There have been several smaller outbreaks in other states which were limited by rapid treatment and isolation.

Dogs that are infected by the H3N2 strain of the canine influenza virus experience a variety of symptoms. Most commonly, affected dogs suffer from coughing, moderate to high fever, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Some infected dogs may remain entirely asymptomatic, never exhibiting symptoms, although they can still transmit the virus to other dogs.

Dr. Rothstein has been advising clients that although a vaccine has recently become available for canine influenza that is caused by the H3N2 strain, the vaccine requires two doses, and it takes time for dogs to develop immunity against the virus. Additionally, the manufacturer of the vaccine recommends vaccinating dogs against the older H3N8 virus to prevent recombination of the two strains. That is a total of four vaccinations. We do not know yet whether an outbreak in the Plantsville area is inevitable, and so, vaccination may not be useful or cost effective at this time, However, the vaccines are safe and can be administered if owners desire.

Clients are also being reminded that while the new strain of canine influenza lasts longer, is more contagious and is more serious than the old H3N8 strain, it is usually not fatal. In the most serious cases, it can compromise a dog's normal lung defenses, allowing bacteria to cause secondary infections like pneumonia. If an outbreak occurs, dog owners should keep their dogs away from kennels, dog parks and other areas that dogs frequent.

Dr. Rothstein and his team urge clients to bring their dogs in to be examined if they begin coughing persistently or exhibiting other symptoms. Appropriate treatment started early is effective against secondary infection with bacteria, and testing of symptomatic dogs can help determine the cause and alert us to an outbreak of H3N8 at an early stage, so it can be contained more easily. Appointments may be made by calling the clinic at (860) 628-9635.

Apple Valley Veterinarians, (860) 628-9635

Source: Apple Valley Veterinarians