Dogs can suffer from most diseases that humans do – the flu is no exception. Canine influenza exists and gone unnoticed, it could pose a danger to your dog and other dogs as well. Be aware of the symptoms and consult a vet if you suspect that your dog has caught the disease.
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 sick, 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 it?
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 spread 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, you need to take precautions. Keep infected dogs away from other animals and disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces.
How is it treated?
A trusted vet would be able to advise you 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 there’s a secondary bacterial infection, your vet would prescribe antibiotics.
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