Animal Resource Library » Pet Health » Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

What is CIV?
CIV stands for the Canine Influenza Virus, or “dog flu”, a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs (and in rare cases cats). The two strains of CIV spread between dogs are H3N8 and H3N2.

What are the symptoms of CIV in dogs?
Symptoms of CIV infection include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of appetite

Some dogs infected with CIV may show no symptoms of infection at all and are able to infect other dogs. Therefore it is important to avoid situations where your dog could come into contact with dogs that may have recently traveled or been exposed to other sick dogs.

Most dogs who are infected with CIV develop a mild symptoms and recover in 2-3 weeks. In rare cases, CIV infected dogs have progressed into pneumonia which can be potentially fatal. Most dogs (approximately 80%) exposed to CIV will develop the virus, however the mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%).

If your dog is displaying any of the above symptoms or other signs of illness, contact your veterinarian.

What is the treatment for CIV?
Because CIV is a viral disease, treatment is largely supportive, and may include antimicrobials for secondary bacterial infections, fever-reducing medications, and fluids. Dogs with pre-existing medical concerns may need more intervention and could be at greater risk for secondary infection.

How does the virus spread?
CIV is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions from infected dogs (coughing, barking, and sneezing) and by contact with contaminated objects (toys, water bowls, food dishes, leashes). The virus can survive 1-2 days on surfaces and is most likely to spread when an infected dog spends time in close contact with other dogs.

What can I do to protect my dogs from CIV?
Consult with your veterinarian to evaluate whether your dog’s lifestyle warrants vaccination for CIV, especially if you and your dog regularly travel together, or if your dog regularly spends time in close contact with other dogs (boarding, dog parks, dog training classes, etc.).

What else can I do to keep my dog healthy?

  • Keep your dog up-to-date on all vaccines
  • Contact your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of illness
  • Provide high-quality food, plenty of fresh water, and appropriate exercise to promote overall good health
  • Keep sick dogs home from public activities (dog parks, boarding and grooming facilities, etc.)
  • Do not allow your dog to use community water/food bowls or other shared toys at dog parks
  • Wash your hands after handling your and other pets

I haven’t heard of CIV before, where is it coming from, and is it in Los Angeles?
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

H3N8 virus was first reported in Florida in 2004. It likely jumped species from horses to dogs. It has caused a few outbreaks in Los Angeles County (see below). Infected dogs shed the virus for 2 days before the start of symptoms, and for 4-10 day after. There are vaccines available to help protect dogs from getting sick with this virus.

The H3N2 virus was first reported in South Korea in 2006, and appeared in the Chicago area in 2015, where it caused a large outbreak. It likely jumped species from birds to dogs in Asia. It is able to infect cats, although this appears to be rare. Infected dogs shed the virus for 2 days before the start of symptoms, and for up to 24 days after. It was first detected in California in Orange County in March 2015, and in Los Angeles County in July 2015. Vaccines to protect pets from this virus first became available in November 2015. In March 2017, an outbreak of H3N2 influenza virus was detected in Los Angeles County associated with dogs imported from Asia.”