17 May 2015

Dog Influenza - What You Need To Know

With dog influenza in the news recently, pet owners face a lot of confusion over this illness. Here’s what you need to know about dog influenza, how it could affect your pet, and what you need to do if you suspect your dog is infected.

What is dog influenza?

The most recent version of canine influenza has been determined to be the H3N2 type, which has affected over 1200 dogs in Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. The illness is spread between dogs through contact. It does not transmit to humans or other animals, but is very contagious among dogs.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of canine influenza include:

  • Lethargy
  • Persistent coughing
  • Nasal drip
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite

If you notice that your dog has these symptoms, isolate it immediately. The influenza virus is spread through contact, including through drooling, coughing and sneezing. It can be spread through communal food and water dishes, toys, and through contact when dogs play together.

Contact your vet, who will likely test for the flu virus, and who may recommend the vaccine used to treat an older version of canine influenza.

If the illness goes untreated, secondary complications such as pneumonia can cause your dog to become seriously ill and can lead to breathing problems. Most cases of canine influenza are easily treated, if caught early enough, but it’s best to take precautions while the number of cases is high.

Protect your pooch

The easiest way to prevent the canine flu from infecting your dog is to keep it away from other dogs. Don’t utilize doggie daycares, dog parks or places where lots of dogs will be if you suspect the flu is affecting dogs in your area. There’s no need to panic; just use common sense when out and about with your dog, and practice good hygiene by washing bowls, toys and your hands regularly.

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