Should You Be Worried About The Canine Influenza?


Though we make light of the dog flu with our header image, please be sure that we take the health of our (and your) pets very seriously!

As most dog owners might be aware of, there's a dog flu running around and spreading quickly. And a lot of people are getting on the band wagon and taking their dog to their vets to get the canine influenza (dog flu) shot. But is it necessary?

At first, because everyone was talking about getting the shot, we thought so, but then we sat down and did some actual research rather than reacting to word-of-mouth!

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What is the Canine Influenza:

It's a contagious respiratory disease caused by specific 'Type A influenza' viruses known to infect dogs. No, humans have caught it yet, but viruses can mutate.  There are two strains: An H3N8 and the H3N2 virus.

H3N8 started out as the horse flu, which has been around for more than 40 years. The virus mutated and jumped species, with the first cases of dog flug noted In 2004.
It occurs mostly in dogs housed in kennels and shelters.

The H3N2 canine influenza virus was originally an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. It was first detected in dogs in South Korea, then in the United States in April 2015. Cats can catch this one.


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What are the signs of the dog flu?

The signs of dog flu include

  • cough,
  • runny nose,
  • fever,
  • lethargy,
  • eye discharge, and
  • reduced appetite.

Different dogs are impacted differently, because not all dogs are the same and will show different signs of the flu.Symptoms can range from no signs whatsoever to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death.

What's interesting is that most dogs will recover from the dog flu in 2 to 3 weeks.

At times, some dogs could develop a secondary bacterial infection which is what could turn into pneumonia.

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How serious can the canine influenza be in dogs?

The percentage of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no signs of illness), while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia.

It can be spread via sick dogs coughing and sneezing. Or uninfected dogs can come into contact with contaminated objects (things sneezed on), and by people giving contaminated objects to their healthy dogs.

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How to treat dog flu?

If you dog gets sick, the CDC says supportive care is the most common method. In some forms of flu, this supportive care can be in the form of medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated.

In the tougher situations, where a secondary infection is suspected, the vet may perscribe broad spectrum antibiotics.

There is a vaccine, but it's only good against one of the strains noted here.

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For us, we're not going to share our discs with anyone, nor borrow discs from anyone. If someone comes up to us with their playful pup, we'll try to refrain from play because it's hard to control what playful pups do with what toys.

What we do may be different than what you're comfortable with, so act according to your own tolerances. If our dog gets a cough, we'll give a week or so before we consider a run to the vet. But you may wish to visit the vet right away. It's up to you.

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Header image, via Funny Meme Pictures on Pinterest.

For more information and other resources, which you are urged to go through, to make your own decisions regarding the dog flu:

cdc.gov canineflu keyfacts 
cdc.gov/article ( Early Florida outbreak) 
avma.org/Resources/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder 
cdc.gov/news/canine-influenza-update 
avma.org/FAQs/Control-of-Canine-Influenza-in-Dogs 
ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/canine influenza

Transcript of a conference
cdc.gov/media/transcripts/t050926

(On the bright side, at least the CDC can still use the word 'dog' in their reports!)

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