Monday, January 14, 2013

Dogs Get The Flu Too- Canine Influenza

Can you give your dog the flu, or catch it from him? No way. But dogs can become infected with their own strain of canine influenza. With much attention on the tough human flu season, it’s a good time to talk about the differences, and similarities, between human and canine influenza.

What is Dog Flu?
Canine Influenza, also known as H3N8, is a relatively new dog virus identified in 2004.The disease mutated from a strain of the equine influenza virus and was first detected in racing greyhounds. Canine influenza has migrated across the country and infections have been detected in 39 states, with heavy reports in recent years in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Colorado. However, some areas of the country have yet to report a single case of canine influenza.
Although the human flu peaks in winter seasons, canine influenza doesn’t show seasonality, rather dogs can acquire canine influenza all year round.

The Illness
A dog sick with canine influenza develops respiratory infection signs similar to kennel cough that last three to four weeks. Symptoms include coughing, gagging, sneezing, runny nose, and high fevers up to 104-106 degrees. (Normal dog temperature ranges 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit)
Most dogs infected with canine influenza will get sick and recover. But like the human flu, fatalities can occur. Approximately 5% of canine influenza infected dogs may die, usually to secondary pneumonia. Older pets, pups, or those with chronic illness are more likely to develop pneumonia than the average healthy dog.
There isn’t a specific treatment for dogs infected with canine influenza, but most dogs recover with supportive care including good nutrition, rest and maintaining adequate hydration. Severely ill pets with secondary bacterial pneumonia may be hospitalized and treated with IV fluids and antibiotics.

Dog Flu Transmission

Dog flu is similar to human flu in that it is spread by aerosol transmission as well as through contact with contaminated items. Since dogs don’t cover their cough or sneezes, the virus is easily carried through respiratory droplets to other dogs and items in the immediate area. Any place that canines frequent or spend time around can become contaminated by infected dogs – that includes water bowls, surfaces and even human hands.
What do you do if you notice your dog’s play pal is coughing, sneezing and has a runny nose? Separate your dog immediately and closely monitor your dog for symptoms for 7 days- the time it takes for symptoms to appear after exposure to the virus. If symptoms develop, call your veterinarian.
Past that timeline and you are probably fine. But don’t forget that 10 to 20% of infected dogs will shed the virus, but never show any symptoms of illness. These apparently healthy carriers can go on and spread the infection to other dogs without every becoming ill.
Vaccination and Prevention Steps
A vaccine, produced by Merck, is available through veterinarians for canine influenza. But just like the human flu vaccine, it doesn’t guarantee your dog CAN’T get sick. However the vaccine is helpful in decreasing the severity of infection and decreasing the spread of virus.
Vaccination for canine influenza isn’t recommended for every dog at this time. Lifestyle and geographic location influence an individual dog's risk of acquiring canine influenza. Dogs that frequent high density dog areas are at increased risk of canine influenza and are candidates for vaccination. So if your dog goes to areas like the dog park, trainer, groomer or boarding facility, then ask your veterinarian if vaccination is a good idea.
Don’t think you have to keep your dog locked in the house forever to hide from canine influenza. For most dogs, the risk of contracting canine influenza is quite small. Good sense preventative steps are useful to avoid dog illness. These include quarantining new or sick dogs, using good hygiene through disinfection and hand washing, and avoiding unnecessary contact with suspected infected dogs, especially if your dog is young, old, or has a compromised immune system.
What Should Pet Owners Do?
Flu awareness and preparedness makes good sense- for both people and pets. But remember that there are other causes of canine respiratory disease, so just because you hear a cough doesn’t mean your dog has the flu. Ask your veterinarian about your pets individualized risks for acquiring canine influenza.
For more information about canine influenza visit the CDC website or Merk’s website


  1. I'm so impressed with your article because it tackled a very unique topic about dog. Anyway, because of your article I discovered that our pets can also experience a flu and this is also known as H3N8. After I read your blog, I learned how to protect him against for this illness and I will ensure the safety of my dog. Get more information please visit this link:

  2. Thank you for taking some time to write this post. When you’ve done it all and you’re still not able to manage your high-strung dog, your best solution is a dog weight vest.  A weighted vest helps to reign in the anxious See more

  3. When the dog sick you might not understand this stuff that which thing is good for the dog. But you have tried the best things in this case. The whole information is very different and I like this sort of the information which is very wonderful.

  4. Info is out of this world, I would love to read more. The Hunting Dog

  5. I surmise I have chosen an intelligent and mind blowing website with interesting material.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. If possible, such as gain knowledge, would you mind updating your blog with additional information? It is very useful for me. dog training

  7. That is enterprise associated knowledge gaining article. This put up is truly the first-class on this valuable subject matter. official statement about Mastiffs

  8. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. wireless invisible fence

  9. A simple approach to stimulate bone growth is to wear a weighted vest during exercise or daily living on a regular basis.

  10. his otherwise aggressive breed is an excellent choice for families because of their loyalty to their humans and friendliness towards strangers. pocket pitbull blue nose

  11. If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours. this is pet

  12. I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this. this

  13. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. here pets

  14. Thank you very much for this great post. web link

  15. Well Written and Structured Blog. Totally a fan of your writing, I found this blog unique and i have been going through the posts in your blog.Independence Day Speech in Telugu

  16. You should avoid ordering foods for your dog from the below menu. APPETIZERS - Baby Food - Many people try to give baby foods especially to pups when they are not feeling well. Millies Paws