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Happy New Year! You may have heard that this is going to be a bad year for the flu. But did you know that dogs can also get the flu? The canine influenza, also called dog flu, is an influenza A virus. Since 2015, US cases have been dominated by two specific strains, H3N8 and H3N2. In fact, there is an outbreak going on now, which involves an extremely contagious strain. A local Tipp City, OH vet discusses Fido’s flu in this article.
The flu affects our canine pals in much the same way as it does us. Some of the symptoms include coughing, watery eyes, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and reduced appetite. The most common sign is an ongoing, stubborn cough, which can last two to three weeks and does not respond to antibiotics or other treatments. However, it’s important to realize that, just like with people, the flu hits some dogs much harder than others. Some dogs show no symptoms at all, while others may just seem a bit down for a few days. A small number of pups will get extremely sick, and can develop severe respiratory issues. In rare cases, the flu can even be fatal.
Dog flu is extremely contagious between pups. It is transmitted via respiratory droplets, often through direct nose-to-nose contact. It can also stay active on surfaces for several hours. As one would expect, the virus can spread very quickly in spots where there are lots of dogs, such as kennels, animal shelters, and doggy daycares. If your pooch does get the flu, he’ll be contagious for about a month. Fortunately, according to the CDC, people cannot catch Fido’s flu. Fluffy isn’t quite as lucky, though, as kitties can catch it. However, these cases are rare, and usually are not severe.
There is no cure for the flu. If you know or suspect that your canine pal is infected, contact your vet and let them know what’s going on. If Fido gets very sick, he may need supportive care, such as fluids. (Never bring a contagious or potentially-contagious dog into a clinic without checking first: as he could spread the virus.) The main thing is just keeping Fido hydrated and comfortable. Your vet can provide specific care tips.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Tipp City, OH animal clinic, today!