Canine influenza is more commonly known as the Dog Flu, and is a contagious respiratory disease in my dogs. This flu is caused by Type A influenza virus. The flu is caused by two different strains of the virus, the H3N8 virus and the H3N2 virus. Currently there hasn’t been a case of the virus being transmitted to a human, but we need to remember that the flu virus is constantly changing and could one day changed into one that could infect humans. That’s why organizations like the CDC are constantly researching the virus, but the Dog Flu is a low threat to humans.
The Dog flu was originally an equine or horse flu that mutated into its current form around 2004. The signs of this disease are coughing, runny nose, and a fever, but not all dogs show signs of the disease. This symptoms can range from asymptomatic to pneumonia and/or death. We know that is a scary thought, but the percentage of dogs effected is very small.
Almost all dogs are susceptible to the canine flu, and it is more easily spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. It’s spread through the air via coughing and sneezing by the infected dogs. Dogs coming into contact with infected items are also at risk. If you come into contact with an infected pet your clothes, any surface they’ve been around, and your hands should be cleaned and disinfected.
The treatment of this disease consists of supportive care to help your dog bolster its immune system. They may need to be hospitalized so they can have IV fluids therapy to keep them well-hydrated and broad spectrum antibiotics to fight off any secondary bacterial infections that may come about. The best treatment of the disease is prevention and observation. Keep an eye on your pet and monitor them for any symptoms. Have regular visits with your vet to make sure your dog is doing fine. There is an approved Vaccine to protect against canine influenza A H3N8 that is available in the United States. Call your veterinarian for more information about it.
We here at the Pet Doctor are always here to help, give us a call and schedule an appointment to discuss the dog flu further.