Runny nose? Loss of appetite, fever and constant sneezing? Your poor little furry friend may have dog flu. In which case, as dog owners we need to be prepared. While not fatal, dog flu will cause you and your pet a lot of stress. But don't panic. All you have to do is be familiar with such a situation and be alert so you'll know if your dog has canine flu or if there is an outbreak in your area.
What is Dog Flu?
Canine Influenza Virus (CIV H3N2 or H3N8) or Dog Flu is a very contagious disease that affects dog. It is a virus that has similar viral strains to a human influenza virus. There are two known strains of dog flu: H3N8 and H3N2. H3N2 originated in horses but the virus made its way to dogs. In 2004, a group of greyhounds at Florida racetrack fell ill due to unexplained circumstances. The dogs showed signs of runny nose, coughing and fever. At first they thought it was a kennel cough, but it soon became obvious that the dogs weren't suffering from such a disease. A total of 8 out of 24 died before they found out the the disease was flu. Veterinarians discovered that dogs got the virus from horses.
How do Dogs Get The Virus?
Canine flu is very contagious. In fact, according to Dr. Cynda Crawford, canine influenza can cause a more serious illness than any other respiratory infection. Your dog can catch it when another dog with flu barks, coughs, sneeze and inhaled by your dog. The flu can also spread from collars, water bowl or even when you touche an infected dog.
Symptoms of Dog Flu
There are several symptoms you can check to confirm that your dog has dog flu. This disease range from mild to severe and unlike human influenza, dog flu is not seasonal.
- Decreased in appetite.
- Weak or drowsy.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Constant sneezing
- Greenish discharge on the dog's eyes and nose.
- Fever of 104-106 degrees fahrenheit.
Yet, there are times that you may not know that your dog has a virus. The symptoms is like the symptoms of a kennel cough. It is best that you consult your veterinarian when any of these symptoms arise.
If you want to find out if there is a dog flu outbreak in your area, visit this link.
Treating Dog Flu
There is no cure for dog flu, so let the flu run its course. It could take 15 up to 30 days for the flu to subside. The treatment includes plenty of water, rest and a cough medicine. Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the fever that is prescribed by your veterinarian. When the flu is severe, your dog may need a more intensive therapy or hospitalization.
Preventing Dog Flu
The best way to prevent dog flu is to keep your furry friend away from public places. It is also a good idea to keep out of public kennels with a history of a flu outbreak.
If you come in contact with a dog that has flu, here's what you can do:
- Watch your hands, and arms.
- Change clothing before you come in contact with your own dog.
These simple steps reduce the transmission of flu to your dog.
There are vaccines available for both H3N8 and H3N2 strains of dog flu. Buy, it depends on your vet if your dog could take the vaccine or not. If you do road trips often with your pet, your dog could be at risk of contradicting canine influenza. A veterinarian may recommend it as a precaution.
Can Canine Influenza Infect Humans?
There is no known evidence of the spread of canine virus from dogs to people. There is no reported case of humans getting infected from canine influenza. But, influenza virus changes. It may be possible in the future that the virus could change which could infect people. It has been reported to infect animals such as cats, ferrets and guinea pigs.