In January of this year, veterinarians in Chicago began seeing cases of Canine Infectious Disease (CIRD). A highly contagious strain of dog flu, it causes a persistent and lingering cough, poor appetite, fever, and lethargy. It can develop into pneumonia and be fatal in dogs with compromised immune systems. This newer strain is believed to be a variant of an Asian strain known as H3N2.
Two new cases of canine flu reported were reported in May, one in Atlanta and the other in Newark, New Jersey. As of now, the new strain of canine influenza has been identified in 13 states so far this year. Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) is highly infectious to other dogs, with infection rates of exposed dogs reaching as high as 80%. Luckily, CIV is not transmitted to humans, and the mortality rates for dogs are very low (approximately 2-3% of infected dogs).
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends these steps to reduce the risk of canine flu. More can be found here.
Avoid sharing toys, bowls, and water bowls with other dogs.
If possible, avoid areas where large groups of dogs congregate, such as parks and boarding- and daycare facilities until the increase in infection has subsided.
If a pet is to be boarded, vaccination should be done 2 to 3 weeks prior to the anticipated boarding stay; longer if the vaccination has never previously been administered (to achieve the appropriate immune system memory response).
Puppies or other dogs with compromised immune systems, either due to disease or drug therapy should especially avoid higher-risk areas. Contact your veterinarian to discuss risk assessment and whether or not your dog should be vaccinated. Here are some other common canine diseases.
States where the Asian (H3N2 subtype) canine influenza virus has been identified in 2015 include:
9) New Jersey
10) New York
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a useful FAQs page.