Canine Influenza Confirmed in East Tennessee

Canine influenza is usually a mild disease, resembling “kennel cough.” The course of infection of most canine influenzas is generally two to three weeks.​ Concerned owners should contact their veterinarian. Photo by S. Harbison, courtesy UTIA.

UT Working to Confirm Sub-type

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Virology Laboratory at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed two cases of Type A Influenza in dogs in the Knoxville region. The samples were received Monday, June 5. Sub-typing is ongoing and will determine if it is H3N2 Influenza, a strain of influenza that has been confirmed in dogs in the southeast.

H3N2 Influenza in dogs was first reported in Korea in 2007 originating in birds. It was then documented in China as far back as 2006. It emerged in the U.S. in 2015 in the Chicago area. It has since been documented across the U.S. Recently, an outbreak originating at dog shows have led to cases being confirmed in Georgia and Florida.

“We know it is an influenza from a dog,” says Dr. Melissa Kennedy, director of the virology laboratory at the veterinary college. “The dog was at a boarding facility in the Knoxville region that housed a dog that had been exposed to dogs from a show in Perry, Georgia, where a confirmed outbreak has occurred.” Owners of dogs boarded at the facility have been notified and are isolating their dogs.

Dogs infected with H3N2 Influenza exhibit coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever. Canine influenza is usually a mild disease, resembling “kennel cough.” The course of infection of most canine influenzas is generally two to three weeks. A more severe form with pneumonia may occur, but is uncommon. Death from H3N2 is rare.  Puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with other diseases are most susceptible to disease. Vaccines against H3N2 and H3N8 Influenza are available.

Situations which bring dogs together increase the risk for exposure. Transmission of most strains of canine influenza from dog to dog is by spread of respiratory secretions; coughing, dog-to-dog contact, or indirect contact, such as animal caretakers or contaminated objects like bowls may transmit the virus. The virus is easily killed in the environment with disinfectants.

Dr. Kennedy recommends vaccination against canine influenza prior to dogs being boarded or participating in shows or competition. Dogs that may have been exposed to the virus should be isolated from other dogs for at least three weeks. There has been no documented transmission of H3N2 Influenza to humans, but Kennedy recommends limited close contact with any species that has any influenza virus.

Dr. Kennedy advises dog owners to talk to their veterinarian for specific recommendations. Anyone with a coughing dog should seek veterinary treatment. There are many causes, both viral and bacterial, of a cough in a dog, and a veterinarian is best equipped to determine the cause and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Diagnostic tests are available to determine if influenza is involved, and the UT College of Veterinary Medicine offers PCR testing for influenza virus in all species for all strains. Visit vetmed.tennessee.edu/vmc/dls/Virology for information on submission guidelines.

For more information about canine influenza, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website at www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx.

One of 30 veterinary colleges in the United States, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine educates students in the art and science of veterinary medicine and related biomedical sciences, promotes scientific research and enhances human and animal well-being.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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