Can Dogs Get the Flu?

As flu season approaches you might be taking all necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe. However, don’t forget your canine companion! Just as humans get the flu, so do our furry friends. Dogs can contract canine influenza which is more commonly called dog flu.

Dog flu is a disease composed of two viral strains, H3N8 and H3N2. Both strains are extremely contagious and spread easily dog to dog. If this is all new to you, don’t worry. Bregman Veterinary Group has all the information you need, so you can recognize the symptoms and keep your dog happy and healthy all year round.

How Does Dog Flu Spread? 

The canine flu spreads just as easily as the human flu does. It’s airborne. Respiratory secretions escape into the environment in the form of coughing, barking, and/or sneezing. Then they are inhaled by a new dog host. Further, just like the human flu, canine flu can spread through infected objects like chew toys, water, kennel surfaces, and even humans who have had direct contact with an infected dog.

Crowded areas like kennels and dog parks are breeding grounds for this virus. With the animals in such close proximity to each other it’s extremely easy for them to contract the disease. This is especially dangerous due to the fact that dogs are most contagious in the incubation period, before they start showing any symptoms.

Symptoms of the Canine Flu 

There are several symptoms to be aware of when it comes to the Canine Flu including:

–      Coughing
–      Sneezing
–      Nasal Discharge
–      Purulent nasal discharge
–      Runny eyes
–      Fever
–      Lethargy
–      Difficulty breaking

However, unlike the human flu, dogs don’t have flu season. Rather, this virus is contractible year-round. Keep an eye out for these symptoms throughout the year. There are less than 10% of dog flu cases resulting in mortality. However, cases do stretch from mild to severe and could result in pneumonia, difficulty breathing, and a high fever.

Treatment and How to Prevent Dog Flu 

Canine influenza requires the attention of a veterinarian. There is no cure.  However, your veterinarian can advise you on the best way to keep your dog comfortable as the virus runs its course. Some dogs may require a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to reduce their fever and possibly antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections. Depending on the strain of the virus, your vet may inform you of quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of the flu.

When trying to prevent dog flu, be sure to keep your dog out of kennels and public places that may have had recently reported cases. Also, if you come into contact with a dog who has the virus be sure to wash your hands, arms and clothing before touching your own pet.

Further, your vet may suggest vaccines that fight against certain strains of the virus. Bregman Veterinary Group offers the Bivalent influenza vaccine that protects against both strains of the flu virus that dogs can get.

The canine flu is extremely contagious and it is a virus that should be taken seriously. If your pet is showing any signs or symptoms of the dog flu, contact Bregman Veterinary Group immediately.

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