Dog flu, first identified in September 2005, is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by a specific Type A influenza virus referred to as a “canine influenza virus.” This is a disease of dogs, not of humans.
The symptoms of this illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever. However, a small portion of dogs can develop severe disease.
The number of dogs infected with this disease that die is very small. Some dogs have asymptomatic infections (no symptoms) while some have severe infections. Severe illness is characterized by the onset of pneumonia. Although this is a relatively new cause of disease in dogs and nearly all dogs are susceptible to infection, about 80 percent of dogs will have a mild form of the disease.
Canine influenza virus can be spread by direct contact with infected dogs, by contact with contaminated objects and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus.
Clothing, equipment, surfaces and hands should be cleaned and disinfected after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease.
Treatment for milder cases of dog flu may include medication to make your dog more comfortable and fluids to ensure that your dog remains well-hydrated. Broad spectrum antibiotics may be prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected.
What you can do to help protect your pet…
There is now a canine influenza vaccine available at Skyline for $20.99 and is effective for this flu season. It is especially recommended if your dog boards, gets groomed or visits any off-leash park with other dogs. Ask Dr. Speltz about it today at 763-574-9892!