Canine Influenza vs. Kennel Cough
A new strain of the canine influenza virus (CIV), N3N2, has recently emerged in the Midwest. While currently limited to that region, this new form is highly contagious and capable of transmitting quickly between dogs in close proximity, raising concerns that it will spread to other areas of the country. Although no effective vaccine for this strain currently exists, fortunately there have been no reported cases in the state of Oregon.
What is canine influenza?
CIV infection is a mild upper respiratory tract infection characterized by signs of lethargy, anorexia, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, and wet cough. Twenty percent of dogs have the potential to develop a severe disease course. Dogs with more severe disease usually present with high fever, an increased respiratory rate, and pneumonia.
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough (Bordetella) is also spread through contact with other dogs, but contains key differences. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough, but no lethargy, fever, or nasal discharge and retain a normal appetite. Luckily, dogs that have had kennel cough feature bolstered immune systems, granting them greater resistance to the disease and making reinfection less probable.
For the time being, efforts should be made to avoid contact with other dogs; however, there is no need to significantly change your pet’s lifestyle. Both CIV and kennel cough are normally not life-threatening diseases and their symptoms can be managed well with treatment. If infected, your pet should be isolated from other dogs, given plenty of fluids and allowed to rest.