NOTE: We no longer see exotic pets. We recommend Exotic Animal Hospital of Orlando (407-286-3484) & Winter Park Veterinary Hospital (407-644-2676)

The dog flu (canine influenza) is all over Florida, and it’s important to protect your pet from this potentially deadly disease. The team at Williamsburg Veterinary Clinic is here to help educate you and protect your pet. This is important information from

Dog Flu Knows No Boundaries

This highly contagious disease began as an isolated episode of respiratory disease in one state and has now become a nationwide health concern for all dogs.

Considerations For Your Pet

  • Dogs have no natural immunity to Dog Flu because it is a newer virus.
  • This virus is easily spread by mobile dogs, like rescue dogs or ones that travel and move with their owners. This is how Dog Flu has spread from state to state.
  • Many dogs are boarded, go to daycare, or visit grooming facilities where close contact to other dogs puts them at high risk.

Dog Flu Spreads Easier When They’re Social

  • Direct contact: when dogs kiss, lick or nuzzle each other
  • Through the air: from a cough or sneeze
  • Contaminated objects: doggie bowls, toys, doorknobs or clothing
  • Human touch: hands of pet owners, veterinary clinic staff or shelter workers

If you feel that your pet has been infected, it’s important to contact us immediately.

Veterinary emergencies can be stressful and happen at unexpected times. You can rest assured that our compassionate team with extensive emergency medicine experience will be here to help in the event an emergency should arise.

Williamsburg Veterinary Clinic offers critical care and emergency services during our regular office hours. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency during business hours, please call us immediately at (407) 239-7606. This will alert our staff to have a veterinarian on standby, and all necessary equipment and medications prepared for your arrival. One of our staff members will be there to support you with information about safe transportation and the comfort of your pet.

If you have an after-hours emergency, please call the Veterinary Emergency Clinic at (407) 644-4449. They have several locations and are open overnight, on weekends and holidays.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the dog flu?

The dog flu is a highly contagious viral infection that is spread through respiratory secretions when an infected dog barks, coughs, or sneezes. The virus can live on objects, like toys, food bowls, leashes, and clothing, for up to 48 hours. Despite its name, the dog flu can also affect cats, although that is less common.

Dogs that have contact with other dogs, especially at places where groups of dogs congregate, like boarding facilities, doggie daycares, and dog parks, are at highest risk of contracting the flu.

Twenty percent of dogs exposed to the virus will not show signs of illness, but they could still be carriers of the virus and spread it to other dogs.

Signs of dog flu

Mild cases of dog flu will result in:

  • A cough that can last up to a month
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Increased eye and nasal discharge

Dogs that develop a more serious form of the infection might experience a high fever. The virus can also progress to pneumonia, which could lead to difficulty breathing and the need for supplemental oxygen and other medical support. A small percentage of dogs who get the flu will succumb to the virus.

Diagnosis and treatment of dog flu

If your dog is showing signs of canine influenza, call us immediately. To avoid spreading the flu, do not bring your dog in to our office without notifying us first. To confirm the flu, we may conduct a nasal swab test.

If your dog has the flu, we will offer supportive care when appropriate, like anti-nausea medications, fluids, and antibiotics to treat possible secondary bacterial infections. There is no cure for canine influenza, so we will recommend that you keep your pup hydrated, help him get plenty of rest, and keep him away from other dogs for about four weeks after recovery to prevent spreading the virus.  

Preventing dog flu

There are vaccines to protect dogs against both strains of dog flu currently affecting pets in the U.S. and Canada—H3N8 and H3N2. A booster is required after the vaccine is administered, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

Have questions? Do not hesitate to contact us immediately!