Everyone knows about the common flu, a disease that affects people. But did you know that dogs are also affected by the flu?
The dog flu (or canine influenza) is caused by a viral infection. It primarily affects the respiratory system, and it’s very contagious. It’s caused by CIV H3N8 and H3N2. Most dogs don’t have immunity against CIV, so, when it spreads, it affects all dogs that come into contact with a sick dog. This disease isn’t seasonal like the human flu is. The good part is that it doesn’t affect humans, but all pet parents have to be prepared to protect their dogs against it.
Symptoms range from mild, that go away on their own, to severe, like high fever and pneumonia. The most common symptom is a wet cough. Other common symptoms are fever, runny nose, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Most dogs survive the infection, but around 8% can die as a result of the disease. Dog flu cannot be diagnosed just by looking at the symptoms. A vet will need to examine the dog and perform blood tests to confirm whether it’s influenza or not.
CIV spreads very easily, and it can remain active on items for up to 24 hours. Your dog might get infected after staying at a doggy day-care, going to the groomer, going to a dog park, and many other environments.
One of the best ways to prevent this disease is by getting your dog the flu vaccine. If your dog gets infected, they will need loads of fluids and rest. Some vets might prescribe antibiotics or cough suppressants. Sick dogs must be isolated from other dogs, to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread.