You may have heard recent reports of a flu that affects dogs, called dog flu. This disease seems to be rapidly going through dog populations and making them sick. As a dog owner, you may have some concerns about this illness affecting your dog, and you are worried about taking your dog out in public for fear of him catching it. Read on for more information on what dog flu is and how to keep your dog from contracting this illness.
What is dog flu?
Canine influenza, or H3N8 is not a new disease and has been observed in horses for many years. This type A influenza has "jumped species" from horses and is now spreading to dogs. Just as in humans, the flu is an upper respiratory tract infection and has similar symptoms. It should be noted that at this time the disease is not contagious to humans, just dogs and horses. There is some concern about this flu becoming a pandemic disease in humans if it changes and begins to infect humans, but at this time there is no known instances of humans contracting H3N8.
What are the symptoms and how can it be prevented?
This disease in dogs presents with symptoms of cough, runny nose, and fever. Your pet may seem to lack energy and its usual appetite. Some dogs will have the flu and show no symptoms at all. Your veterinarian can test your dog if you suspect an infection and will prescribe antibiotics if a secondary infection is found, but otherwise the treatment is plenty of fluids and rest.
While H3N8 is more serious that most upper respiratory tract infections, some infected dogs show no symptoms at all. The disease will run its course in a few weeks and most dogs recover completely. Some dogs do develop pneumonia, with puppies and older dogs being more susceptible for this likelihood.
This flu spreads through the air and from objects that have come in contact with an infected dog. Keep your dog away from other animals and wash toys and bedding that may have been shared with an infected dog. A vaccine is available from your veterinarian which could lessen the severity of the disease, but will not prevent it.
Your concerns about your faithful friend's health is completely understandable; after all, they show their love for you at every turn, and now you need to be there for them. The spread of this disease can be controlled if you take the precautions above to keep your dog healthy. See a vet, like Stewartstown Vet Services, for more information about this illness and keep your dog safe and healthy.