Canine influenza

Every year during the winter, we have to deal with the dreaded flu epidemic... If you have pets, you have probably wondered if there is a risk of transmitting this disease to them. Ferrets are susceptible to human flu, but what about dogs?


Are dogs susceptible to our flu?

Influenza in humans is caused by an influenza virus. Influenza viruses can be divided into three groups: A, B and C.

The most common viruses that cause influenza in humans belong to group A. The viruses are classified into subtypes with letters H (hemagglutinin) and N (neuramidase) which designate proteins present on the surface of the virus. The most common virus responsible for annual influenza in humans belongs to group A and subtype H3N2.

The human flu can be transmitted to ferrets: you must therefore be vigilant if you have the flu and you own a ferret, especially since there is no vaccine to protect them against this disease.

Unlike ferrets, dogs are not affected by human flu (only 1 case of transmission of the H1N1 virus to a dog has been reported). However, dogs can be affected by the canine flu.


What is canine influenza?

Dogs can be affected by several influenza viruses. The most common influenza virus found in dogs is H3N8. The first episode of canine influenza was described in 2004 in racing greyhounds in Florida. Two forms of influenza have been reported in dogs: a severe form causing death and a less severe form causing fever and respiratory symptoms (coughing, nasal discharge, etc.). This virus has been encountered in many states in the United States, it is not described in France. Cases of transmission of avian and swine influenza have also been reported in dogs, but they are more rare.

There is a vaccine specifically designed to protect dogs against canine influenza. Affected dogs must be isolated and hygiene measures are important to avoid transmission of the virus to other animals.

No cases of transmission of canine influenza to humans have been reported.