Physicians and healthcare professionals everywhere are repeatedly advising the public to get their flu vaccine. Did you know there is dog flu as well?
Also referred to as canine influenza, this virus can spread like wildfire among doggy day cares, dog parks and other pup-friendly establishments. What’s even worse? It can be fatal. Is your pup at risk?
What is Dog Flu?
Canine Influenza is a relatively new disease caused by an influenza virus that is transmitted by aerosolized respiratory secretions. It has two strains- H3N8 which dates back to 2003, and H3N2 which was first reported in 2015.
Is it contagious?
Both strains of dog flu are extremely contagious and spread easily from dog to dog. The H3N2 strain has even been proven to spread to cats.
Almost every dog (80-90%) exposed to canine influenza will become infected and exposure is easy. Much like the human version, things like direct contact, a sneeze, cough or coming in contact with a contaminated object will expose your pup to dog flu.
Examples of contaminated objects include: toys, food and water bowls, leashes, collars, bedding and other dog noses (via nose to nose contact). It can ever be spread via humans that have been in contact with the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Again, think flu-like symptoms for humans. Canine influenza symptoms include:
· Nasal discharge (not just your dog’s normal wet nose)
· Runny Eyes/ Discharge – look for goopy, mucus-like discharge or a noticeable increase if your dog normally has eye discharge
· Reduced appetite
· Reduced activity, lethargy
It’s important to note that these symptoms closely mimic kennel cough, another canine virus. These symptoms, regardless of which virus is the cause, warrants a trip to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Is my dog at risk?
Certain canine lifestyles will increase their risk of dog flu. Does your pup frequent the dog park, doggy day care or boarding facilities? If so, they are more likely to be exposed.
Take this quiz to find out how susceptible your pup is to dog flu.
My dog is at risk! Can we do anything to prevent dog flu?
Yes! We offer a vaccine that prevents both strains of the virus. If your dog is regularly around other dogs or environments that other dogs frequent, it’s very important to protect them.