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Your Veterinarian in Wheaton, MD
Call us at 301-949-2511

Canine Influenza Alert - What You Need to Know


Canine Influenza (also known as ‘Dog Flu’) is caused by a virus (the ‘Influenza virus’), known as strain H3N8.  The virus was first recognized as a problem in racing greyhounds in Florida in 2003.  By 2005 the disease began appearing in pet dogs at boarding facilities and has since spread to at least 30 states.  Both Maryland and Virginia have had confirmed cases of canine influenza.

Transmission, Symptoms & Treatment:

Canine influenza is very contagious.  Dogs are exposed to canine influenza virus from the secretions (saliva, nasal discharge) of infected dogs.  Not all dogs that are infected with the virus show symptoms so even dogs which appear healthy can spread the virus.  The virus can survive on toys, bowls, collars, clothing, leashes, etc., but is easily killed by most disinfectants.

Symptoms usually develop 2-5 days after infection and can last 2-4 weeks. There are two syndromes which have been described:

The mild form 20-50% of dogs that are infected will fight off the infection without having any signs of illness
Dogs that do show signs usually have a dry cough similar to “kennel cough”, with or without mild nasal discharge.  The disease usually resolves without treatment

The severe form:  Dogs with the severe form usually develop fevers and symptoms of hemorrhagic pneumonia (coughing, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood).  The onset of symptoms is rapid and can lead to death if not treated.  Treatment is largely supportive via administration of antibiotics and fluids.  The mortality rate for the severe form has been reported to be as high as 5-8% in high-risk populations, but is usually <1% with appropriate treatment.


Serological testing (looking for antibodies in the blood) is currently the most reliable method of testing, but can take 2-5 days to get results.  Because the disease can progress very rapidly, treatment often must be started before the results of the test are available.  Additionally, because most cases of Canine influenza are mild, they do not require specific diagnosis.


Canine influenza is easily killed by most disinfectants (including bleach solutions).  Using good hygiene practices will also help to prevent spread.

A vaccination against Canine Influenza is available.  The vaccine does NOT prevent infection with the virus, nor does it prevent shedding of the virus, but it has been purported to reduce the severity of symptoms in dogs.  The manufacturer requires 2 doses administered 3-4 weeks apart for optimal immunity.

Our current recommendation is to consider vaccinating dogs that have a high risk of exposure (dogs travelling to areas of known outbreaks and dogs that frequent high-density closed facilities).

Public Health Concerns:

As a rule, influenza viruses are very species specific and require a dramatic mutation in order to jump species.  There is currently no evidence that Canine influenza can infect humans.



Kindness Animal Hospital offers new pain relief for pets via high-power therapy laser! Provides safe, non-invasive solution for pain management, wound healing and rehabilitation!

We're the area’s first veterinary practice to offer K-Laser’s new, FDA cleared, state-of-the-art Cube 4 therapy. This new powerful and effective technology gives our healthcare team new capabilities in addressing a broad range of patient needs, from hastening healing to managing infections and easing chronic pain. Simply put, we’re blown away by the results and you will be too!

Our Cube 4 laser uses high energy, near infrared lasers to penetrate deeply into the body to diminish pain and stimulate healing; its effective in a broad range of human and veterinary conditions. Over 100,000 pets have benefited from laser therapy treatments. Moreover, its technology is so effective that it’s used by the Gold winning US Women’s National Soccer Team and the New York Yankees.

We are currently treating a multitude of patients and conditions with superb results! Our doctors and staff are fully trained in the use and safety of the Cube 4 laser and we’re prepared to address any questions that you have regarding the lasers capabilities and suitability for your pet’s specific condition. Call us today at 301.949.2511 for more information on how laser therapy can benefit your pet’s health!

For more information on laser technology and its uses in veterinary medicine and sports health, please check out the following links:

Veterinary Client Education Video (2:30)

K-Laser Veterinary Information and Testimonials (9:51)

K-Laser in Yankees Training Room (1:30)


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If you live in Wheaton or the surrounding areas in Maryland , then you have picked the perfect site to find a veterinarian. Our doctors are licensed veterinarians, treating all kinds of companion animals.  Kindness Animal Hospital is dedicated to providing quality pet health services through professional staff who are commited to our clients, their pets and our community.

We believe that preventative health care is the best medicine.  Regular physical examination serves as the foundation for all preventative care.  We believe that immunizations and laboratory testing should be tailored to the needs of the individual patient and address the concerns of the client.  Here at Kindness Animal Hospital we believe that "one size does not fit all."

Kindness Animal Hospital | 301-949-2511 2130 University Blvd W
Wheaton, MD 20902

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Kindness Animal Hospital
2130 University Blvd W
Wheaton, MD 20902
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  • Phone: 301-949-2511
  • Fax: 301-949-2513
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