'Tis the season for coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose. No one's happy to come down with a strain of this year's flu, and hopefully, you've taken concrete steps to avoid it like getting your annual flu shot.
Did you know that your dog is just as susceptible as you are to influenza? That's why it's important to get your dog vaccinated. As part of our mission to keep your dog healthy, IPH has updated vaccination requirements for our dog day camp to include the canine influenza immunization.
The 411 on Dog Influenza
Canine influenza, or simply "the dog flu," is similar to the strain of influenza that affects people. It's just as common too.
What Is It?
Although it's rarely fatal, the dog flu can cause your pup plenty of discomfort and misery. There are two known strains of the dog flu: H3N8 or H3N2. The H3N8 strain jumped from horses to dogs a little over a decade ago and continued to spread across the United States. The H3N2 strain jumped from birds to dogs in Asia and caused more recent outbreaks in the US.
Your dog could contract the dog flu without your knowing it; as much as a quarter of all dog flu cases are asymptomatic. Many vets will recommend that all dogs in your household should remain quarantined for a minimum of 21 days if they've been exposed to dog flu. This is to prevent further transmission.
How Do Dogs Get the Flu?
Like people, dogs get the flu after being exposed to it in the air. Coughing, barking and sneezing will spew the virus into the air, where another dog breathes it in and becomes infected. This is why it's most common for dogs to get influenza after spending time with other dogs.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of dog flu will sound familiar to anyone who's had the human version before. It's not severe, but it could require a trip to your local veterinarian. You should call your vet as soon as you notice these symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Pus-like nasal discharge
- Discharge from the eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of energy and lethargy
In most cases, your dog will recover with lots of fluids and rest. However, you should check with your vet to be sure that your dog isn't in danger, particularly if your dog is very young, very old or in poor health.
Can Dog Flu Be Prevented?
Yes! IPH recently made the decision to require influenza vaccinations for all dog day camp pets. Our reasoning is simple: The best way to prevent the flu in dogs is by vaccinating them. Since your dog could easily contract the fly at daycare, it's best to stop the problem before it even occurs.
If you have any questions about our updated policy, canine influenza or your pet's health, feel free to call us anytime.