Canine Flu: What You Need to Know

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Every year, an estimated one million dogs in the United States contract canine flu. This often-misunderstood virus can cause serious illness and even death if left untreated. But there are steps you can take to help protect your pup from canine flu, so don’t fear! Let’s learn more about this virus and how we can prevent it. 

What is Canine Flu? 

Canine flu (or dog flu) is a contagious respiratory infection caused by two different strains of canine influenza viruses, H3N8 and H3N2. Symptoms of canine flu are similar to kennel cough, although they are completely different. They include coughing, sneezing, runny nose and eyes, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and difficulty breathing. While not all dogs will display symptoms when infected with the virus, it can still be spread to other dogs. 

How Does Canine Flu Spread? 

Canine flu is spread through direct contact with an infected dog or by contact with contaminated objects such as food bowls or toys. The virus is also airborne, and it can be transmitted through the air if an infected dog coughs or sneezes near another dog. 

How Can You Prevent Canine Flu? 

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect your pup from contracting canine flu. Vaccinate your pet against both strains of the virus if they have not already been vaccinated and keep them away from areas where other dogs congregate.

Do not let them share toys or water dishes with other dogs and practice good hygiene after handling other pets or visiting pet-friendly areas such as dog parks. Additionally, consider speaking to your veterinarian about giving your pet antiviral medications that may help reduce the severity of symptoms if they do become infected with this upper respiratory illness.  

How Is Canine Flu Treated? 

If your pup does become infected with canine flu, early diagnosis and treatment are key for ensuring a quick recovery. Treatment includes rest and fluids, along with medication prescribed by your veterinarian, such as antibiotics or antiviral drugs, depending on the severity of symptoms. If left untreated, canine flu can lead to more serious conditions such as pneumonia or even death in extreme cases. Therefore, early detection is essential for providing effective treatment and reducing complications from the virus.  

Canine flu is a contagious respiratory infection that affects thousands of pups each year. However, following simple precautions such as vaccinating against both strains of the virus and practicing good hygiene when caring for multiple pets can help prevent your pup from becoming infected with the virus, while also helping stop its spread among other animals in your area.

If you hear of an uptick in canine flu in your area, be sure to communicate with your Woofie's dog walker or pet sitter so they can also avoid taking your dog to crowded areas during their walks and time spent outside. Early diagnosis and treatment are also essential if an infection does occur in order to ensure a speedy recovery without any unnecessary complications or illnesses.

With a little knowledge and preventive care steps taken ahead of time, you can greatly reduce your pup’s risk of developing this potentially deadly illness, allowing for more years filled with healthful fun!