Miami-Dade County Animal Services Reminds Pet Owners to Protect Their Dogs Against Canine Influenza

MIAMI  —Due to a recent a canine influenza outbreak in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County Animal Services is reminding dog owners of the importance of getting dogs vaccinated against the virus.  The canine influenza virus (H3N2 CIV) is a highly contagious and potentially life-threating strain of influenza virus that infects dogs. Most dogs do not have immunity to the H3N2 virus, which means that dogs of any breed, age or health status will likely be infected if exposed to the virus. Dogs are at most risk when near other dogs – including at dog parks, pet stores, boarding kennels and grooming areas. Animal Services is encouraging dog owners to limit their dogs’ potential exposure and contact their local veterinarian to get their dogs vaccinated. 

Though rare, the virus can also infect cats.  There is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans. This virus, which recently emerged in the US in 2015, has already infected thousands of dogs in more than 30 states.

H3N2 CIV Prevention & Protection:

  • Dog owners should contact their private veterinarian to vaccinate their dog against the canine influenza viruses. Just like human flu vaccines, the H3N2 vaccine may not completely prevent infection but will make it less likely for the dog to be infected. Two weeks after the pet has been vaccinated against the H3N2 virus, they will need a follow-up booster vaccine to develop adequate immunity.

H3N2 CIV Symptoms:

  • Common symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes and coughing which can last for two (2) weeks or more. Many dogs have a fever and a decrease in appetite the first few days. In some cases, they can develop pneumonia which requires hospital care. In cats, the H3N2 virus can cause sneezing and nasal d

H3N2 CIV Treatment:

  • Individuals who think their dog may be showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their private veterinarian immediately. They should call prior to taking the pet in for treatment to reduce the spread of the virus.

H3N2 CIV Spread:

  • The H3N2 virus is spread by direct contact with a sick dog and by contact with people that have been exposed to the virus. The virus can be carried on people’s clothing, hands and on items such as food/water bowls, collars/leashes, toys and bedding 12-24 hours before it dies.
  • Coughing dogs produce virus-containing mists that can travel 20 feet or more in the air, facilitating virus dissemination over distances.
  • It is easily killed by most disinfectants, handwashing with soap and water, normal laundering of clothing and bedding, and washing food/water bowls and toys with soap and water.

The H3N2 CIV vaccine is available at most private veterinary office.  The Miami-Dade County Animal Services Wellness Clinic does not provide this vaccine. For more information, visit or call 311.