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There are reports of an outbreak of Canine Influenza (Dog Flu) in Atlanta. The Atlanta Humane Society is monitoring all dogs for symptoms of this virus and our Adoptions Team can help answer any questions you have about the dog flu.

What is Canine Influenza?

  • Canine Influenza was first discovered and described in racing Greyhounds in Florida in 2004.
  • It cannot infect people, and rarely infects cats.
  • It is very similar to the influenza virus in people:
    • Spread via aerosols (sneezes, coughs) and fomites (inanimate objects that carry the virus from one place to another) for up to 24 hours
    • Causes fever, lethargy, coughing (most common), inappetence, and pneumonia if severe. Death is rare unless there are complications due to pneumonia.
    • Killed easily with routine hand washing, cleaning, and laundering.
    • Vaccination is helpful in reducing illness but is not 100% protective.
    • The time between exposure to the virus and illness is up to 4 days.
    • Treatment is supportive care; there is no specific medication for the virus.
  • Unlike in people:
    • Testing for the virus requires sending out swabs from the dog’s throat to a lab, which may take several days to return.
    • Dogs with the virus can be contagious to other dogs for up to 3 weeks.

Is my adopted dog vaccinated?
It’s likely that your adopted dog is not vaccinated. Because most dogs are in our care for such a short amount of time, and the vaccination requires 2 doses given 2 weeks apart, vaccinating them while in our care would not protect them from the dog flu. For this reason, providing the vaccine to shelter dogs is not recommended by veterinarians. We are vaccinating our longer-term dogs who we will be able to provide 2 doses to and highly recommend you utilize your VCA Animal Hospitals Healthy Start Certificate to establish a relationship with a veterinarian and get your new family member on a vaccination schedule.

If you have any other questions, please call us at 404.875.5331.

January 13, 2023

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