Unfortunately, your canine friend is susceptible to a number of infectious diseases, including the flu. But there’s some good news: Canine influenza is different from human influenza. So far, there’s no evidence to suggest that human influenza can infect dogs, or that canine influenza can infect humans. So if you’ve come down with the sniffles, you can still enjoy a good cuddle with your puppy.
An Overview of Canine Influenza
To date, there have been two strains of canine influenza identified in the U.S. They are H3N8 and H3N2. Although neither strain has been known to infect humans, it should be noted that a group of shelter cats recently tested positive for H3N2. If you have a cat as well as a dog, keep them separated from each other if either appears to have the flu.
The Methods of Transmission
Dog flu spreads through infected droplets that become airborne through sneezing, coughing, and barking. It may also be spread indirectly through contact with contaminated objects, like food bowls. Both strains of canine flu are highly contagious. If your dog is exposed to it, there’s a very strong chance he or she will develop it. This means if you know that your dog has come into contact with an infected dog, such as at a dog park or kennel, you should keep an eye out for the symptoms.
The Signs and Symptoms of Dog Flu
Most dogs who come down with the flu experience only mild symptoms. The most common sign is persistent coughing. Sneezing, lethargy, appetite loss, and nasal or eye discharge are other possible signs. A dog with severe symptoms may display a high-grade fever, rapid breathing, and difficult breathing.
The Treatments for Dog Flu
If you notice any unusual symptoms, take your dog to the veterinarian right away. An emergency visit is warranted for severe symptoms. Your dog may need supportive care, such as fluids. Some dogs may need anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotics for a secondary bacterial infection.
The compassionate veterinarians at Horizon Animal Hospital will do everything possible to help your dog feel well again quickly. If your canine companion has come down with an illness, you can request a prompt appointment at our office in Scottsdale. Call (480) 800-4559.