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Dog Flu in Hawaii: Latest Updates Aug 2023

Dog Flu in Hawaii Aug 2023: A Comprehensive Guide to Canine Influenza - Transmission, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment for Your Beloved Furry Friends

For the first time, veterinarians have issued a warning that cases of canine influenza, or dog flu, have been detected in Hawaii. This highly contagious respiratory illness is considered more contagious than kennel cough. Although humans cannot contract the virus, it can be fatal for our beloved pets. This article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this type of dog flu, covering its transmission, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, equipping pet owners with the essential knowledge to safeguard their cherished companions.

Dog Flu in Hawaii Aug 2023: A Comprehensive Guide to Canine Influenza - Transmission, Prevention, and Treatment for Your Beloved Dog.

A Similar Incident In Oregon (Aug 4, 2023)

In a parallel incident, The Asher House Sanctuary in Oregon grapples with a distressing crisis caused by an outbreak of rare dog pneumonia. Lee Asher, the founder of the sanctuary, bears a heavy heart as he shares the startling news that has unfolded in recent days. The sanctuary is confronted with the challenging task of addressing this unfortunate situation and ensuring the well-being of the affected dogs.

What is Dog Flu?

Canine influenza, commonly known as dog flu, is caused by two strains of influenza virus: H3N8 and H3N2. This contagious respiratory disease affects dogs of all ages, breeds, and health statuses. Dog flu symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, eyes, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, dogs may develop pneumonia or face life-threatening complications.

Comparison with Kennel Cough

It is important to differentiate dog flu from another common respiratory illness in dogs, kennel cough. While kennel cough is typically less severe and rarely leads to pneumonia or hospitalization, canine influenza is a much more serious virus. If a dog has contact with an infected dog, approximately 80 to 90 percent of them will develop dog flu symptoms. Shockingly, up to eight percent of dogs infected with the virus can die due to pneumonia complications. Given the ease with which dog flu spreads and its potential severity, ensuring that our furry companions are adequately protected is crucial. By understanding the distinctions between these illnesses, pet owners can take the necessary precautions to safeguard their dogs' health and well-being.

Dog Flu vs. Dog Pneumonia

Dog flu is caused by Type A influenza viruses that specifically target dogs' respiratory systems. The severity of the illness can vary greatly, ranging from mild cases with no apparent signs to severe instances that can lead to pneumonia and, in some cases, death. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs and airways, resulting in breathing difficulties and decreased oxygen levels in the blood. While most dog flu cases are mild, there are instances where dogs develop pneumonia, experience difficulty breathing, and exhibit a high fever.

You can check our article about Oregon dog pneumonia that hit The Asher House Sanctuary.

Transmission and Prevention

Dog flu spreads through respiratory secretions or direct contact with infected dogs. Places with a high concentration of dogs, such as dog parks, boarding facilities, grooming salons, or pet stores, are particularly susceptible to outbreaks. To protect your pet, it is essential to consider vaccination.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent dog flu. Annual vaccinations are available, and pet owners should consult their veterinarians to discuss the best vaccination options for their dogs. By vaccinating your dog, you can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms if they become infected. Vaccines can be obtained from veterinary clinics and animal shelters across Hawaii.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect that your dog has contracted dog flu, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian promptly. Veterinarians can perform a nasal swab test to diagnose the virus accurately. Appropriate treatment, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, fluids, and supportive care, can be administered if confirmed. Isolation from other dogs and people is necessary until your dog fully recovers to prevent further transmission.

Reporting and Monitoring

While dog flu is not a reportable disease in Hawaii, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association (HVMA) encourages veterinarians to voluntarily report any cases to the Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Control Branch. This reporting system helps the HVMA monitor the situation, provide updated information, and offer guidance to the public.

An earlier warning this year (May 2023)

Before this incident, veterinarians raised red flags over highly contagious canine flu last May. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has released new guidance for dog owners, facilities, and veterinarians as it tracks more confirmed and suspected cases in Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington Counties.

According to Dr. Bradley Treader from Rochester's Northern Valley Animal Clinic, cases of canine influenza started in 2015. So far, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health has suspected more than 200 cases in 2023. Dogs at the dog park go to a groomer, doggy daycare, or kenneling. All of those situations would be more at risk. With outbreaks across the state, local clinics and shelters aren't taking any risks. Paws and Claws had to uninvite dogs to its annual Pet Walk coming up on Saturday. Dr. Treader recommends vaccinating if your dog is at high risk, but avoiding contact with dogs outside of your household is recommended if a vaccine isn't available.


Dog flu, a highly contagious respiratory illness, has raised concerns among pet owners in Hawaii since August 2023. While not harmful to humans, it can be fatal for dogs. Understanding transmission, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is crucial. Canine influenza affects dogs of all ages, breeds, and health statuses, with symptoms including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Distinguishing it from kennel cough is important, as dog flu is more severe. Vaccination is key, and prompt veterinary care is necessary. Reporting cases helps monitor the situation. Earlier warnings in Minnesota highlight the need for caution. By staying informed and taking precautions, we can protect our dogs from dog flu in Hawaii.

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