Can My Dog Catch the Flu?

With so much talk about the recent flu epidemic that’s been going around, one of the most common questions pet owners have when they visit their Woodland vet is, “Can my dog catch the flu too?” And perhaps more importantly, if so, what can I do to prevent it? Here are some answers you may find helpful in caring for your dog through flu season.

Canine Flu

In recent years it was discovered that there is, indeed, a strain of influenza that affects our canine companions. It’s called H3N8, but it’s most commonly known as the “dog flu”. And while cases of this condition have been reported in just about all areas of the US, it is relatively uncommon and tends to pop up sporadically. That said, since the risk does exist, dog owners should be aware and take the appropriate precautions to protect their pets, just in case.

Symptoms of Dog Flu

Some of the common signs that a dog may have the flu include:

  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lethargy

If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, give your Woodland vet a call.

How is Dog Flu Spread?

Similar to human influenza, canine flu can be spread from one infected dog to another. This most commonly occurs when the infected dog sneezes or pants near a healthy animal, spreading the germs. Dogs can also contract the illness by coming into contact with contaminated objects or even people who have been in contact with an infected animal.

Treatment

Your Woodland vet can do a simple test to determine if your dog is, indeed, suffering from the dog flu. Depending on how severe the symptoms are, treatment may involve one or more doses of antibiotics and fluids to help keep the dog hydrated. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required, but most instances of dog flu are mild.

Prevention

The best way to prevent your dog from contracting the canine flu is by keeping him away from other infected animals. There is also a vaccine that can be used as a preventative measure, however it is typically only used in high-risk cases where a dog is consistently coming into contact with other animals outside the home. Your best bet is to discuss your options with your Woodland vet to determine what would make the most sense for your situation.

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