UT veterinarians confirmed the dog flu has reached Knoxville.
The Virology Laboratory at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed two cases of Type A Influenza in dogs in the Knoxville region from samples it received on Monday.
The H3N2 virus dates as far back as 2006 in China. The influenza was first reported in dogs in Korea in 2007. After emerging in the US in Chicago in 2015, cases have been confirmed in Florida and Georgia.
Veterinarians are working to determine if the strain in East Tennessee is the same that’s infected other dogs in the Southeast.
“We know it is an influenza from a dog,” Dr. Melissa Kennedy said in a news release. “The dog was at a boarding facility in the Knoxville region that housed a dog that had been exposed to dogs from a show in Perry, Georgia where a confirmed outbreak has occurred.”
Owners of dogs boarded at the facility have been notified and are isolating their dogs.
Infected dogs show symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever.
Death from H3N2 is rare. The virus most easily infects puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with other diseases. Vaccines against H3N2 and H3N8 Influenza are available, and disinfectants can usually kill the virus.
Kennedy said she recommends dogs be vaccinated against Canine Influenza before boarding or participating in shows or competitions. She suggests dog owners talk to their veterinarians for specific recommendations.
Kennedy said the general pet population is at low risk. “It’s mostly affecting dogs that go to shows or competitions, or at training facilities, or boarding facilities,” she told 10News.
Some dog training facilities in East Tennessee were already taking heed of the outbreak, even before the UT Veterinary College confirmed the two local cases.
In mid-May, the Oak Ridge Kennel Club opted to cancel its training classes until at least August after learning dogs in nearby southeastern states had been infected. No dogs have been infected at the facility, according to the club’s president.
“We made a proactive decision to cancel all of our current classes,” said President Ken Dudley, “just to err on the safe side of everything.”