dog-at-vetDog owners in Iowa are being urged to have their pets vaccinated for canine influenza virus, or CIV, which was reported in more than 40 states in the past year, including Iowa.

Veterinarian Dr. Natalie Marks says the so-called dog flu quickly caused an epidemic in 2015 and it’s hoped prevention can prevent it from spreading again this year. The symptoms are much like human flu.

“CIV is respiratory in dogs, so we see coughing, sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lethargy and fever,” Dr. Marks says. “In more severe cases, we can see a pretty bad pneumonia.”

In the worst cases, it can be fatal, but Marks says there is a way to innoculate against the two strains.

dog-flu“There’s vaccination for both the original strain of flu, which was H3N8, and now there is an H3N2-specific strain,” Marks says. “Both are very safe and effective and we encourage all pet owners to talk to their veterinarian about their dog’s lifestyle risks and if the vaccine is appropriate for your dog’s vaccination protocol.”

CIV is highly contagious and can spread quickly in urban areas, doggie daycares, boarding facilities, dog parks and sporting events. The dog flu is a problem year-round, especially during warmer months as pets are outdoors more often and more likely to encounter other dogs if they are social.