Canine Influenza On the Rise in Buncombe County

Asheville Humane Society urges dog owners to take appropriate precautions

This season, the flu is not only hitting humans hard, but our furry friends, too. Canine influenza is quickly on the rise in North Carolina, and Asheville Humane Society is advising all dog owners to take the appropriate precautions to protect their canine companions.

This treatable yet highly contagious disease has recently spiked in the Southeast and is suspected to have been present in Western NC since late summer. The infection is transmitted between dogs through exposure to respiratory droplets or contact with contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms, which commonly include fever, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and nasal or eye discharge, can take three to seven days to appear and may last up to three weeks. Similar to humans, the young, old, and immune-compromised are more likely to develop severe illness and experience complications such as pneumonia.

Long dedicated to serving the animals of Buncombe County through sheltering, adoption, and education, Asheville Humane Society is taking steps to reduce the spread of canine influenza by educating the community on its symptoms and prevention methods. To prevent the spread of canine influenza, Asheville Humane Society is advising all Buncombe County dog owners to:

  • Avoid taking your dog to popular spots where lots of dogs will frequent, such as dog parks, popular dog walking areas or restaurants/breweries.
  • Consider having your dog vaccinated against canine influenza and ensuring it is current on their other core vaccines. The best way to reduce infection and minimize symptoms is to vaccinate your dog for the virus. Asheville Humane Society recommends the bivalent canine influenza vaccine.  This vaccine requires two vaccinations, the initial vaccine and the booster 3 weeks later. Please discuss this vaccine with your veterinarian to determine if this is the best option for your pet.
  • Seek veterinary care immediately if you notice your dog showing symptoms of canine influenza.
  • If your dog is diagnosed with a respiratory illness or canine influenza, avoid exposure to other dogs or dog owners per your veterinarian’s recommendation. Even dogs who are no longer showing symptoms of canine influenza can transmit the virus to other dogs for up to 28 days.


To learn more about canine influenza, please visit the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s FAQs. For media inquiries, please contact