20 dogs have been quarantined following an outbreak of H3N2 canine influenza at an animal shelter in Willmar, Minnesota. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has commended the shelter for its response, and is encouraging pet owners who suspect their dog may have been exposed to the canine influenza virus to contact their veterinarians immediately.
H3N2 canine influenza virus was first detected in the United States in the Spring of 2015 when a severe respiratory outbreak occurred in the Chicago region. Since then, the virus has continued to spread across the United States causing local outbreaks.
This particular strain has demonstrated greater virulence, infectivity and prolonged shedding compared to the H3N8 canine influenza strain, and has also been reported in shelter cats. H3N8 canine influenza vaccines are not effective against H3N2, but new H3N2 vaccines are now available in the United States. Secondary bacterial pneumonia and co-infections can be seen with influenza.
Accurate diagnosis is critical in the prevention and management of canine influenza outbreaks. A Comprehensive Respiratory RealPCR™ panel on respiratory swabs taken early in the clinical course of infection is recommended for diagnosis of influenza and co-infections. Learn more about canine influenza so that you will be prepared in the event that the H3N2 outbreak reaches your patients.