Dog Flu: Symptoms & Treatment

Did you know that your dog can get the flu too? That’s right, your dog can catch the same respiratory infection that humans catch, and it makes them feel just as bad too! The two most common strains of dog flu are H3N8 and H3N2. In April 2015 there were more than 1,000 cases in Chicago and parts of the Midwest, while Atlanta had 55 confirmed cases as recently as June 25th. If your dog does contract the flu, try to avoid taking him or her to dog parks or public areas that dogs are known to frequent. Dog flu is also commonly spread in kennels and shelters, so if you recently boarded or adopted a dog, be sure to inform your veterinarian so that he or she should be checked.

What are some of the causes of dog flu?

Because the dog flu is very contagious your dog can be affected if an infected dog sneezes or coughs near him or her, but the virus can also live on objects like toys and blankets for a short period of time.  The virus can survive on human skin for 2 minutes or over a day on clothes. Puppies and older dogs are more likely to get severely ill once infected, however all ages and sizes of dogs are equally at risk. There are some breeds more susceptible to the flu such as French Bulldogs, Pekingese and Pugs because of the anatomy of their respiratory tract. The flu itself will not end a dog’s life, but if they have a compromised immune system, pneumonia or other complications could develop that may lead to death.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of dog flu?

They are quite similar to the human flu but up to 20% of dogs do not show symptoms at all. That is why you, as a responsible dog owner, have to watch for any changes in your dog’s behavior and have them taken in for regular check-ups.

Dog Flu Safety TipSymptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Fever
  • Lethargic
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Sneezing

How to Treat the Dog Flu:

  • Although vets can test for the flu, there is no specific treatment because the influenza is a viral not bacterial infection
  • May take certain fluids to keep well-hydrated
  • Can get supportive care to boost immunity
  • If a bacterial infection is found, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics

If you have more questions about the dog influenza or think that your dog might have a case of it, you can call and schedule an appointment with Metairie Small Animal Hospital at 504-835-4266. We have several locations throughout the New Orleans area and provide the most compassionate and knowledgeable care to all our patients and their owners. Get in touch today!

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