What Is the Canine Flu?

Every dog owner wants the best for their furry friend. That’s why we brush their teeth, give them baths and take them to the vet for their annual checkup. Keeping our family pet safe, however, also means identifying viral threats. Take, for instance, the canine flu—this potentially dangerous condition could have you bringing your dog to their vet in Cannon Falls, MN.

Here’s what you should know.


The two most virulent strains of canine influenza—H3N8 and H3N2—are relatively new. Both strains are the result of older strains of flu that managed to make the leap to dogs:

  • H3N8 was first spotted in horses more than 40 years ago. In 2004, however, the influenza strain jumped from horses to dogs. In the first few years, H3N8 proved especially fatal for greyhounds.
  • H3N2 was initially spotted a few years later in 2007 in South Korea. To date, H3N2 has been most prevalent in Asia, though cases have been reported in the United States. H3N2 began as an influenza virus among birds. Since it was discovered, however, it has successfully made the leap from birds to dogs and then, subsequently, to cats.

Fortunately, both strains of the flu show up in dogs in the same way. That makes them easy to identify and treat with help from a dog vet in Cannon Falls, MN.


Canine influenza manifests in dogs in much the same way the flu does in people—the symptoms are very similar. When dogs contract canine flu, they can develop a rasping cough that lasts for as long as 30 days. Most dogs with canine influenza also become lazier and more lethargic. Some dogs also exhibit increased mucus production (in other words, they get snotty). More often than not, however, these are the most severe symptoms that dogs display when they have the flu.

In some rare cases, dogs can develop a fever. The influenza infection can also give rise to bacterial diseases like pneumonia. While the flu isn’t especially dangerous for most dogs, those pups that develop pneumonia see their mortality rate increase to about 50 percent.

Best practices

Treatment for canine influenza is very similar to how we treat the human version of the flu—that is, dogs with the flu require a lot of rest. You should also consider having them eat more food than is typical, so they have the energy to fight off the disease.

Dogs with the flu should also be isolated as much as possible from other pets in the home until the disease can run its course.

Your ally in health

If you suspect that your dog may have canine influenza, it’s essential to get them to a vet in Cannon Falls, MN as soon as you can. That means making a call to Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd.

We have more than 50 years of experience offering cutting-edge animal care for dogs, cats, horses and more! We’re proud to provide comprehensive care for the whole animal because we understand how much your pet means to you. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.