Did you know that there is a dog flu outbreak raging at the moment? Fido’s version of the flu can affect him much the way that influenza viruses affect us. A Lakewood Ranch, FL veterinarian discusses the dog flu in this article.
The dog flu, or canine influenza virus (CIV) is a type of influenza A virus. It spreads through respiratory droplets, which can be transmitted by barking, coughing, or sneezing, as well as from contaminated objects. People can even transmit it from pooch to pooch, simply by petting an infected dog before interacting with other pups. Given Fido’s affinity for sniffing, well, everything, it’s very easy for him to pick it up from objects or surfaces. Simply drinking from a bowl that an infected dog used or giving one of his canine buddies a friendly nose boop is all it takes! The virus remains active on surfaces for up to 28 hours. All of our canine companions are susceptible, though senior dogs and pooches that are sick or have immune deficiencies are at highest risk. The flu cannot be spread to humans, though it can affect kitties: there was a 2016 outbreak among shelter cats in Indiana. You can track the current outbreak online here.
A stubborn cough is one of the most telling symptoms. Other things to watch for are nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and a lack of appetite, which is always a concern with Fido. Keep in mind that the flu does not affect every pooch the same way. Some pups only develop mild symptoms, while others get quite sick. A small percentage of dogs become extremely ill. In severe cases, the dog flu can be fatal, though fortunately this is rare. Once Fido is infected, he will be contagious for about a month.
There is no single treatment for the canine flu. You’ll just need to isolate Fido, and keep him comfy and hydrated. You may want to give your pup some sodium-free chicken broth, or even chicken soup with rice. If your furry friend becomes extremely ill, contact your vet.
As the saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to protect Fido? Get him vaccinated! Ask your vet about the canine influenza vaccine.
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