Casey is a four year old, neutered male, Australian Shepard mix that presented to the Animal Care Center of Plainfield with coughing, lethargy, and not wanting to eat. When Dr. Buedel examined him, he noted that Casey also had a fever of 104.4 degrees. His lungs sounded clear and the rest of the examination was unremarkable.
In cases where a dog has respiratory issues there are a few differential diagnoses that have to be considered. They could have tracheobronchitis (kennel cough), bacterial or fungal pneumonia, or canine influenza. Heart disease also has to be considered when dogs are coughing.
After testing, it was determined that Casey had canine influenza. Recently, there has been a severe outbreak of canine influenza in the Chicagoland area. A dog can contract canine influenza with anywhere they come into contact with and infected animal because it is airborne. It is most often seen at kennels, groomers, and dog parks, but even casual contact with any infected dog can transmit it. Researchers have recently discovered that there are two different strains of canine influenza, H3N8 and H3N2. There is a vaccine for H3N8, but one is not available for H3N2 at this time. H3N2 has only been identified in the United States within the last 4-6 months. Canine influenza can present as just a simple cough, nasal discharge, fever, severe pneumonia, and in a small percentage of cases, cause fatalities. Depending on the severity of the case, the patient may have to be hospitalized.
Fortunately for Casey, he did not have pneumonia. He was treated with Doxycycline to prevent a secondary pneumonia, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for the fever, and a cough suppressant. The cough lingered for two weeks but Casey gradually got better and is now healthy and happy. If your pet is showing any type of respiratory signs, bring them to your veterinarian immediately.