Does My Dog Have The Flu?
30 January, 2012

I know that many dog owners are concerned with whether or not their dogs have the flu.  Similar to the human flu, it can sometimes be an endemic that is in a certain state or location.  I did a little research to find out more about this type of flu.

CANINE INFLUENZA

Canine influenza is a viral infection caused by Influenza Virus A.  It is closely related to equine flu and might be a mutation of that virus. It can cause mild illness but if a dog has a weak immune system or if it is left untreated, it can be severe.

Typical symptoms of canine influenza include a wet cough with a low fever. This sometimes lasts for about a week or more and there may also be some flem from the nose that is yellow or green in color if a secondary infection arises.

If the dog has a severe case of canine influenza there can be a high fever, difficulty breathing, and heavy discharge. It is not fatal, but can be extremely uncomfortable for dogs and if it is left untreated, can weaken the immune system and expose them to catch secondary infections.

I think I have the flu!

DOES MY CITY HAVE AN OUTBREAK

 

Not every city, state or even doggy daycare urges owners to be mindful of canine influenza. This is because it’s an endemic virus. If you want to know if your city or state has had an outbreak, talk to your vet.

 

HOW DOES A DOG GET THE FLU

 

The virus is contagious and spreads from dog to dog by sharing the same environment. It is generally a respiratory based illness and therefore dogs that are together for a period of time at a boarding facility, or shelter can spread it around. Your dog could even catch it from a dog at a dog park as well even though you are outside.

The symptoms resemble kennel cough and only your vet can diagnose if it is canine influenza or something else. There is currently no reliable rapid test available to veterinarians for diagnosing canine influenza but there are tests available at certain diagnostic labs. If your vet suspects that your dog may have the virus, she or he will usually recommend further tests.

Any dog with the flu should be kept away from other dogs until the illness completely resolves. If you work with dogs such as in a shelter, daycare, or boarding facility, make sure to wear gloves and continually disinfect the areas.  Further, be sure that animals that are ill are kept away from others until they are well again.

I hope your dog never gets the flu; however, if he does, you are now a little better informed. Build a profile!

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