|H3N2 canine influenza in Los Angeles County
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Influenza H3N2 handout -
Overview of Canine influenza H3N2
The canine influenza H2N3 virus usually causes mild
disease in dogs and on rare occasions can also infect cats.
This strain of canine influenza was first found in the US in
2015 when it was detected in Chicago and spread to other parts of the
Infected dogs start shedding the the virus 2 days
before the start of clinical signs, and for at 21 days or
more afterward, even after they appear healthy.
In August 2017, the Veterinary Public Health Program (VPH) learned
from The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of
Wisconsin that some infected dogs may shed the
virus for 30 days or more. Transmission of influenza usually occurs
through contact with infected respiratory secretions
(e.g. coughing, sneezing) as well as from contamination of the
environment (e.g. bedding, floors, bowls, collars, leashes). To date, there is no evidence that humans
can become sick with
canine influenza H3N2.
As of March 2018, this virus is still
uncommon in Los Angeles County. When cases occur, VPH's goal
is to stop the spread of the virus to protect the animals of
our county. The most effective tool in stopping the spread
of canine influenza H3N2 is prolonged home quarantine of
sick dogs (40 days). VPH recommends that highly social dogs
(dogs that frequently go to dog parks, groomers, boarding
facilities, or daycare) should be
vaccinated against canine influenza H3N2.
Influenza H3N2 cases in Los Angeles County
March 2017 - Outbreak in 35 dogs, most imported from Asia
In March 2017, a local veterinarian
reported a potential outbreak of canine influenza H3N2 in
dogs imported from Asia. The dogs showed signs consistent
with influenza such as coughing, sneezing, fever and nasal
discharge. During the initial investigation, laboratory
testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed the virus in two dogs.
After a prolonged investigation, a total of
exposed to the virus were identified, including 35 sick
animals. Of the 35 sick dogs, the virus was
confirmed by PCR in 6 dogs and suspected in the other 29
dogs. A total of 62 dogs were
placed under quarantine or isolation in 17 locations. The 62
dogs included the 35 sick dogs, plus 17 that were exposed
but did not become sick, plus 10 that were living with the
exposed but healthy dogs. It is likely that home quarantine
played a significant role in helping to limit the size of
sick dogs died, however both had been suffering
from other unrelated illnesses. Ultimately, all of the other
sick dogs have recovered and were released from
isolation. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the
University of Wisconsin provided assistance by testing samples from several dogs.
Samples were submitted to
veterinary virologists in order to compare this virus to the
canine influenza H3N2 virus that caused a large
outbreak in the Chicago area in 2015.
April 2017 - Single case in a dog from San Bernardino County
In April 2017 VPH was notified of a single dog
that had tested positive for canine influenza H3N2. The dog had been ill very early in
March when it was brought from San Bernardino County into Los
County. The dog had been kept in isolation
for 2 weeks before being placed in a facility with a large
group of dogs. VPH worked closely with the large facility to
check for further spread of the virus.
Very few dogs in the facility were coughing, suggesting that
influenza was unlikely to have been on site. With the help
of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of
Wisconsin, VPH performed PCR testing on 10 of the 91 dogs in
the facility for influenza - all 10 were negative.
Sixty-nine of the 79 dogs that had been in the facility in
March and April were located. Most were healthy, but 14 had
developed some coughing. Three of the 14 were serologically
tested for exposure to canine influenza H3N2 and were
negative, showing they had not been exposed to the virus.
The Veterinary Public Health Unit of the
San Bernardino County Department of Public Health assisted
in the investigation by visiting two locations where the
sick dog had spent time in that county, and found no
evidence of any respiratory outbreaks in dogs.
May 2017 - Single case in a ill dog imported from Asia
to the San Gabriel Valley
In May 2017, a single dog imported from Asia was found to have fever and pneumonia soon after arrival.
The dog was taken to two veterinary practices in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County. It was kept at home
until it appeared healthy, but was not isolated for 40 days.
After it appeared healthy, it was taken to local dog parks. This case was not reported until August 2017,
three months after the dog's illness.
August 2017 - Outbreak in 27 dogs in the San Gabriel Valley
In early August 2017, VPH was notified
that a dog in the San Gabriel Valley tested positive for
canine influenza H3N2 by PCR. The dog developed a mild cough
in late July after boarding
at a local kennel. The veterinarian had tested the dog for
influenza 2 days later.
VPH worked closely with the boarding
facility to contact owners of dogs that were present during
the second half of July 2017. At least 26 other dogs developed
respiratory-like illness. Only three of these 26 dogs were tested
for canine influenza by PCR, and all three were negative. Note that a
negative PCR test does not rule out infection, since
infected dogs can shed the virus intermittently. During this
investigation, VPH learned from the University of Wisconsin
that dogs infected with this virus may potentially be
contagious for 30 days or longer (unpublished data).
Therefore, dogs that had been ill were placed under home
quarantine for 40 days after the onset of illness. Healthy animals that
had been exposed to the
sick dogs were quarantined at their
homes for 14 days after last
potential exposure. All of the sick dogs
recovered and the outbreak resolved. The source of this
outbreak was unknown. No direct link was found with the single case in
May imported from Asia, however, since they both occurred in the San Gabriel Valley,
it is possible that they may have been connected.
November 2017 - Single case in a dog in the San Fernando Valley
In early November 2017, a veterinarian in
the San Fernando Valley
area reported that a dog with moderate coughing and mild
sneezing had tested positive for canine influenza H3N2 by PCR.
The dog had been at a grooming facility during the week before illness, but had no other reported contact with dogs.
The dog was placed in home isolation for 40 days, and an investigation was performed.
Veterinary practices and animal-related businesses in the
immediate area were contacted to find out if they were also
seeing cases. There was no evidence of a larger outbreak.
January 2018 -
Single case in a dog in the South Bay area
In late January 2018, a dog in the South Bay
area became ill with cough, fever and loss of
appetite. The dog tested PCR positive for canine
influenza H3N2 by PCR. The source of the
infection is unknown, and no evidence of an
outbreak was found.
March 2018 -
Single case in a dog imported from South Korea
In mid-March 2018, a group of 3 dogs were
imported from South Korea. One of the 3 had
ocular and nasal discharge, and tested PCR
positive canine influenza H3N2. The sick dog was placed
into 40 days of home isolation, and the 2
exposed dogs were placed in a 14 day home
quarantine. An additional dog on the same flight
was also quarantined at home for possible
If you think your pet has
influenza, keep it away from other animals
and contact your veterinarian.
Dogs that frequently
interact with other dogs (e.g. dog park,
groomer, daycare) should be vaccinated against
canine influenza H3N2.
To prevent spread of
disease, do not let a sick pet share its
food bowl, leash, toys or other supplies
with other pets.
Wash your hands after
touching your pet.
Do not allow coughing dogs
into your lobby. Move them immediately into
an exam room, or (if it is not hot outside)
have the owner wait in the car with their
In any case with a
coughing dog, ask about the health of dogs
that spend time near the coughing dog, to
determine if there may be an outbreak.
Advise the owner to keep the coughing dog at
Dogs that frequently
interact with other dogs (e.g. dog park,
groomer, daycare) should be vaccinated
against canine influenza H3N2.
Isolation & Quarantine
Report any suspected or
of influenza in dogs or cats to VPH using
this reporting form.
If a case is suspected,
use proper isolation measures to prevent
infection via direct contact or fomites.
disinfection and biosecurity available
Canine Influenza - Los Angeles County Department of Public
Canine influenza (Dog Flu) - Centers for Disease Control and
Canine Influenza - American Veterinary Medical Association
Canine Influenza H3N2 Updates - Cornell University Animal
Health Diagnostic Center
Last updated: March 22, 2018