Yes, dogs can catch flu and in the medical world, it is called canine influenza. It affects canines in any time of the year – no matter the season.
Just this year, about 2,600 of dogs caught the flu, and that figure is a supposed underestimation of about ten times.
As stated in records, the first canine influenza appeared not so long ago. It was not even a disease originally carried by dogs.
The influenza was first seen in horses, then it affected the greyhounds that used the racing track of the affected horses. This first strain of canine influenza was named H3N8.
The second strain emerged in 2015. This time, the canines got it from birds and it was called H3N2.
Apparently, those affected with H3N8 are sick for at most two weeks while those with H3N2 suffer for about four weeks. Also, the former originated in Chicago while the latter had the first outbreak in South Korea and Southern China.
What signs on your dogs should you look out for?
Notable symptoms of canine influenza include coughing, sneezing, and some nasal discharge. Sometimes the initial symptoms are accompanied by fever and lethargy.
However, if the condition progresses even further, the dog might exhibit labored breathing, a sign that the respiratory system is not in a good condition.
By this time, the invasion is not by the virus per se, but the bacterial infection that progresses as the flu worsens. If left untreated, this could lead to pneumonia.
Before it reaches that point, the treatment process should commence as early as possible.
But before heading to the veterinarian, please bear in mind that canine flu is contagious. It may be transferred to other dogs who will be present at the clinic.
That would be highly objected by your vet. You would not want to spread the disease either.
What you have to do is to call your vet, tell him your dog’s state and ask for an appointment. He will be able to inform you about quarantine procedures. After that, the affected dog is going to need your utmost supportive care.
During quarantine, make sure to keep a vet-approved disinfectant handy, so that the virus from your dog will not spread.
Everybody is familiar with the old adage: “Prevention is always better than cure.”
Just like most diseases carried by virus, vaccines are available as a preventive measure. It would be better to ask your vet for both H3N8 and H3N2 precaution vaccines.
This will not guarantee their resistance against the virus but if ever the dogs get infected, the period of the disease can be shorter.
Most importantly, avoid places with a known flu outbreak. Remember, the virus is highly transmissible – and you could even become a carrier!
So it would also be best for you to take caution and keep your pets indoors while the epidemic persists.
Lastly, dog flu does no harm to humans. So cast a pint of your worries away for you can still hang out with your little pudding the way you always do.