Information for dog owners regarding canine influenza

While we have no confirmed cases of canine influenza virus (CIV) at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, the following provides an overview of symptoms to watch for, what to do if your dog is showing signs, and preventive measures.

Symptoms of Canine Influenza Virus (CIV)

There are two strains of the virus, H3N8 and H3N2. Symptoms resemble those of “kennel cough.”

Watch for coughing, nasal and eye discharge, sneezing and fever (104-105oF).

Other more serious symptoms include lethargy, or not drinking or eating.

CIV is also highly contagious.  Some infected dogs show no signs of illness but are still contagious to other dogs.

If you are concerned, please contact your family veterinarian.

Caring for your dog

Depending on the particular strain of CIV, dogs affected with CIV should be isolated for 7 days (for the H3N8 variant) and 21 days (H3N2 variant). Diagnosis of the variant requires testing that takes several days to get results.

Much like humans with colds or flu, canines infected by CIV generally require plenty of fluids and rest. Being a viral condition, the CIV generally resolves itself on its own without treatment. However, more severely affected pets may need hospitalized supportive care. Antibiotics are generally not administered unless a secondary bacterial infection is suspected or diagnosed.

The CIV can remain alive and infect surfaces for up to 48 hours; on clothing for 24 hours; and on hands for 12 hours. It is important to clean and disinfect objects that have been in contact with an infected dog to avoid exposing other dogs to the virus. Likewise, people who have been in contact with an infected dog should wash their hands and clean their clothing to avoid spreading the virus. Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand clearer. Wash clothes, dishes, collars, etc. with soap and water.


The CIV can be spread by nose-to-nose touching and other close contact, but is also an airborne virus. It is recommended that you avoid taking your pet to areas with unknown dogs (dog parks, dog shows, pet stores, kennels, etc.)

It is also recommended that you have your dog vaccinated, especially if you board your dog, take him/her to the groomer, doggie day care, dog shows, or other places where your dog has close contact with other dogs.


 Reference “Key Facts about Canine Influenza (Dog Flu)” from the CDC website