Have you heard of dog flu? If not, this pet illness is definitely something to be aware of. Canine influenza is a highly contagious virus that manifests as a respiratory illness. Coughs and colds among dogs is nothing new, and, for healthy dogs, aren’t serious. But some of these viruses can turn virulent.
Kings Trail Animal Hospital want to educate our pet families on the risk of canine influenza and help you prevent this flu from spreading through the dog population.
The canine influenza virus is actually a few viruses, but the most recent being the strain H3N2. H3N2 was first noted in 2015 in the Greater Chicagoland Area, after being imported from an avian strain in China. The canine influenza virus, H3N8, was first seen in 2004 in a group of greyhounds in Florida. This, too, was originally found in another species, horses, then transmuted to affect canines.
After dogs fell ill from the H3N8 strain, a vaccine was developed and included in many dog’s core regiment of annual vaccinations. When the new virus appeared a few years ago, it took hold and spread to thousands of dogs throughout the United States.
The good news is that we now have a vaccine to prevent both strains.
The Symptoms of Canine Influenza
Nearly all unvaccinated dogs exposed to the virus will develop the flu. Symptoms of dog flu include:
- Cough (dry, resembling kennel cough)
- Discharge from nose and eyes
- Lack of appetite
- High fever
More serious cases of canine influenza include high fever and dehydration. It is important to keep track of your pet’s temperature and keep them comfortable and hydrated.
Treatment and Prevention
There is no specific cure for canine influenza, other than supportive care. Most cases of flu are mild to manageable, and can simply be treated with rest and hydration. In more severe cases, your pet may need intravenous therapy, nutritional support, and medications to prevent infection.
Flu prevention relies on having your pet vaccinated. This vaccine is a two-part vaccination with follow-up occurring a few weeks after the first vaccine (often as a nasal spray). Call our team to schedule an appointment for the canine influenza vaccine.
Along with this, avoid places where dogs gather, such as dog parks, daycares, kennels, and so forth unless your pet is vaccinated and the facilities require other dogs to be vaccinated.