Canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is a contagious respiratory illness in dogs that is caused by certain Type A influenza viruses. These viruses are known as “canine influenza viruses.” The dog flu is a disease that affects dogs. There have never been any human cases of canine influenza in humans. Two influenza A virus types are available: the H3N8 virus is one and the H3N2 virus is another.
What is the dog influenza?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the first case of canine flu in the United States was reported in Chicago in March 2015.
Flu virus is a respiratory disease that can be easily spread between dogs. There are many flu viruses that can affect dogs, just like human flu. It has been believed that it spread from horses to dogs.
How to tell if your dog has the flu
Similar symptoms can be seen in dogs with flu viruses. Dogs suffering from the flu can have a runny nose and cough. They may also experience eye discharge, fever, and reduced appetite.
Dogs do not always experience the same symptoms as humans. Most dogs will recover in a matter of weeks. Flu can spread to dogs so dogs should not be around sick dogs. You should consult a veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s health.
Dog Flu Is Back, Too
Experts say that canine influenza can quickly spread through shelters, day care centers, and kennels, but most dogs will recover themselves.
The veterinarians weren’t initially concerned when a few dogs began coughing at an animal shelter in Texas in October. Operation Kindness had seen its fair share of sick dogs.
These coughs lasted, and soon the few hacking dogs became dozens. Mid-November saw 86 percent of 150 shelter dogs become ill.
“This was just too fast-acting,” stated Ed Jamison (chief executive of Operation Kindness), which is located in Carrollton just north of Dallas.
Lab testing revealed that the dogs had contracted canine influenza H3N2 from highly contagious strains. This has led to a series of outbreaks in the South. Social media alerts from veterinarians have been sent to clients regarding the virus. Doggy day care centers have closed, shelters including Operation Kindness have stopped accepting adoptions.
Experts stressed that the virus has not been linked to human disease. Since 2015, there have been periodic outbreaks in the United States. However, most dogs who contract it don’t become very ill. However, the disease can cause pneumonia or even death in small numbers of dogs.
Dog Flu: Keep Your Pet Safe
Flu outbreaks are known to make people sick. But they can also affect dogs. Canine influenza can make our doggie friends feel sick and can even be deadly.
This is not a new disease. Scientists discovered a strain of the flu called H3N8 virus more than 40 years ago. It was only known to affect horses at the time. In 2004, however, it became a problem in Florida when it was discovered that the virus could also be spread to greyhounds. It spreads easily between dogs. A newer strain is H3N2.
Knowing the signs can help you make your dog feel better or prevent them from getting sick altogether.
Barry N. Kellogg is senior veterinary advisor at the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Just like people getting the flu, you can expect your pet to sneeze, have a runny nostril, and cough.” You may notice that your dog is tired or not eating as much. Dogs can also experience a fever between 104 and 106 F.
Sometimes you might not be able to tell if your dog has the flu. Approximately 20% of dogs who have the flu don’t show symptoms.
There are risks
The virus is not fatal in most dogs. Cynda Crawford DVM, PhD of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, says that canine influenza can cause more severe illness than an average respiratory infection.
This type of flu can sometimes turn into pneumonia in some cases. The disease can become more serious at this point. Older dogs and puppies are more likely to become severely ill after being infected.
Kellogg states that dogs require fluids and rest just like humans. Your pet should have plenty of water and a place where they can recover. If your dog has the flu, your vet might prescribe antibiotics.
Is There a Vaccine Available?
Yes. Yes. There are two vaccines: one for H3N8 and one for H3N2. The vaccine covers both strains in one shot.
It might be a smart idea to have your pet vaccinated if they live in an area with a high incidence of dog flu or come into contact with other dogs.
Kellogg states that the vaccine won’t prevent flu, but it will make it less severe. Talk to your doctor and ask if they recommend it.