Reports of an outbreak of dog influenza can be scary. Certain strains are highly contagious among animals, and as a loving pet parent, you want to be careful. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to keep your dog safe and sound during an outbreak. Here’s everything you need to know about canine influenza, aka the dog flu.
What is Canine Influenza?
- A highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs that presents itself as a hacking cough.
How is it Transmitted?
- By direct contact with infected dogs—such as petting—and by aerosols generated by coughing and sneezing.
- The virus can contaminate crates, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the skin and clothing of people handling infected dogs.
Who is at Risk?
- Dogs of any age and breed are susceptible to this infection, but dogs who are especially young or old are most likely to contract it.
- Cats can also carry and transmit most strains of canine flu.
- The virus does not cause the disease in humans.
What Are the Symptoms?
- A loud or “honking” cough
- Loss of appetite
- Variable fever
- Clear discharge from the nose and/or eyes that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
- Rapid/difficult breathing
- Lethargy/lack of energy
Image via flickr
How Can I Prevent It?
- Wash your hands, clothes, and dog belongings with soap and water. Note that the virus can stay on your hands and clothes for up to 24 hours, so it’s important to wash your hands before and after petting animals.
- A vaccine is available; check with your vet about this!
What Do I Do If I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza?
- Contact your vet or the nearest animal hospital immediately with any questions or concerns about symptoms your dog is showing.
- Keep your dog separate from other animals, including cats.
The Good News
With the correct diagnosis, the vast majority of dogs will recover within two weeks without any further health complications. Keep an eye out for symptoms, take basic precautions, and call your vet with any questions. You’ll rest assured you’re taking great care of your best friend.
Top image via flickr
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.