Editorial

Question Answered: Can My Dog Get the Flu?

Canine Influenza Dog Flu | Vanillapup

Canine influenza, also known as the dog flu can plague your dog. Learn more about its causes, symptoms, potential dangers and treatment method here.

So I was sneezing more frequently a couple of weeks back, and mama wondered whether I got canine influenza a.k.a the dog flu.

When she told papa that I might be having the flu, his immediate reaction was, “dogs can catch the flu too?”

Well, yes! Canine influenza exists and your dog may require your attention if she catches it.

What is canine influenza?

According to the Centers for Disease and Control, canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease. It can be caused by one of two Type A influenza viruses. They are the H3N8 virus that originated from horses and the H3N2 virus, more commonly known as the avian or bird flu.

How is it transmitted?

Dogs can get the flu from other dogs through direct contact (coughing or sneezing) and contaminated objects. If your dog is infected, do not expose her to other dogs and disinfect everything that your dog came in contact with.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of dog flu are similar to that of human flu. They include sneezing, running nose, cough, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever (>39.5°C). However, some dogs may show no signs of being sick. If you suspect your dog has caught the flu, consult a trusted veterinarian.

Is it fatal?

Canine influenza is rarely fatal with most dogs recovering in 2-3 weeks. With that said, your dog can get very sick if the infection is accompanied by pneumonia, which may lead to death in severe cases.

Are humans or other animals at risk of getting infected?

There is no evidence of canine influenza virus transmission from dogs to humans so far, according to the American Veterinary Medication Association (AVMA).

AVMA also states that there is no evidence that H3N8 canine influenza can be transmitted from dogs to other animal species. The H3N2 strain, on the other paw, may infect other animals, such as cats and guinea pigs.

As viruses have the potential to mutate, precautions should always be taken – keep infected dogs away from other animals and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces.

How is it treated?

A trusted vet will be able to advise on the most appropriate course of treatment. For mild cases, supportive care (proper nutrition and care) should be sufficient in helping dogs mount an immune response. If a secondary bacterial infection is diagnosed, antibiotics can be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Do you have a question related to your dog’s health and wellbeing? Comment below!


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Latte is the happy Westie behind Vanillapup, a website for dog lovers. Discover latest products and services, dog-friendly hangouts, helpful tips and advice, and exclusive perks.
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