What is dog flu anyway?
Canine Influenza, is a type of flu that’s contracted among dogs. This flu virus is different from the virus humans contract every year, and humans can’t pass on the human flu virus to their pets. However, like the flu in humans, canine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease.
There are two types of dog flu, the Canine Influenza A (H3N8) virus and the Canine Influenza A (H2N2) virus.
The Canine Influenza A (H3N8) virus is very similar to the flu virus that has been common in horses for the past 40 years. Scientists believe that the virus must have mutated somehow to allow transmission from horses to dogs. The first reported case of this particular influenza was found in infected Greyhounds back in Miami, Florida, 2004.
The second canine flu virus, Canine influenza A (H2N2) was first detected in dogs in South Korea back in 2007. Canine influenza A (H2N2) has been reported in two other Asian countries: China and Thailand. This form can actually spread from birds to dogs.
How is the virus spread?
So far, there hasn’t been any reports of humans contracting the virus. However, humans can still spread the virus to other dogs. For instance, the virus can spread if a person comes in contact with an infected dog and doesn’t propecia tablets online practice hand washing before coming into contact with a healthy dog.
It’s also important to keep infected toys and other objects away from healthy dogs. Pet owners should also be aware that the virus is also easily spread in kennels and animal shelters. The best thing to do is keep infected dogs away from healthy ones and call a veterinarian as soon as possible. Note that the Canine Influenza A virus can infect just about any dog.
What are the symptoms of dog flu?
Sometimes dog owners may mistake dog flu for Kennel Cough. So, how do you tell the difference?
With Kennel cough the dog’s windpipe and voice box are inflamed. This inflammation is accompanied by a dry, honking cough. Vets usually equate it with chest colds in humans. The condition usually eases up in about three weeks.
What signs and symptoms should dog owners look for?
- Variable fever
- Rapid/difficult breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
Mild symptoms occur when the dog has a moist cough and nasal discharge. Sometimes a dog may have a dry cough. Usually, the symptoms last between 10 days to as long as a month, but the symptoms usually go away on its own.
The more severe cases come quickly and accompany a fever of over 104 degrees. By this stage, a dog may also develop bacterial pneumonia, have trouble breathing and may even cough up blood.
What to do if your dog has the flu?
If you notice sneezing and coughing or if your dog shows any of the symptoms listed above, then get your dog to the vet right away. A Canine Influenza A vaccine has been around since 2009 and can be relatively inexpensive (ranging from $20 to $60) , but your vet will determine the severity and the best course of action following a thorough examination.
Although Canine Influenza is a serious illness, it is treatable and the chances death are small. The take away: be vigilant, watch out for symptoms and schedule regular visits with your vet.