Facts About the Dog Flu, H3N8

A new virus has hit the dog population in many states, with Virginia being the latest to report the highly contagious dog flu, H3N8. While we haven’t seen it in Indiana yet, it’s important to learn as much as we can to prevent the spread of this virus.


The H3N8 strain of canine influenza is a new virus. This means dogs don’t have any inherent immunity to the dog flu. All dogs are potentially at risk.

Most commonly, the dog flu is spread through coughing and sneezing from one dog to another. It can also be transmitted by way of food and water bowls, as the virus can remain in the environment for up to one week.

Symptoms of the dog flu include:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Prevention is relatively easy:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Use household cleaners to frequently clean all food and water bowls
  • Wash your dog’s bedding frequently
  • See your veterinarian if your dog displays any symptoms

There is a vaccine available for H3N8 dog flu. This vaccine does not prevent the virus, but it does lessen the impact of the disease to dogs that have received the vaccination.

Have more questions? Watch Dr. Ben Ealing on WTHR, or email him directly at b.ealing.dvm@bracpet.com for more information.

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