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Canine Influenza

Everything You Need to Know About Dog Flu in 2021

Did you know that your dog can get the flu? Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) isn’t the same as the human flu, and your dog won’t catch the flu from you. But it’s important to understand the symptoms and causes of the dog flu so you can be equipped to prevent it and keep your pet healthy.

This article covers:

  • What is the dog flu?
  • Dog flu symptoms
  • How is dog flu spread?
  • Dog flu treatment
  • How do I prevent dog flu?

What is the dog flu?

According to the CDC, “canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs.” There are two different strains of canine influenza. 

  • Strain H3N8
  • Strain H3N2

Canine influenza H3N8 originated from horses and eventually spread to dogs, and canine influenza H3N2 originated in birds and spread to dogs. There have also been reports of the H3N2 virus spreading from dogs to cats. Unlike flu season for humans, canine influenza isn’t a seasonal illness and can be contracted year round. 

Dog flu cases are similar to the human flu in that the severity of the disease can vary case to case. While it most likely won’t be fatal for your dog, the symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and require trips to the vet’s office.

canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs
Canine influenza is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs

Dog flu symptoms

There are several common symptoms of the dog flu to look out for in your dog:

  • Dry or moist coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Runny eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

If your dog exhibits these symptoms, it doesn’t mean that they definitely have the dog flu. The above symptoms sound like the symptoms of kennel cough, but can also point to other common illnesses your dog can catch. 

If your dog is actively dealing with any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. At PetWellClinic we offer convenient walk-in visits and can help diagnose minor illnesses your dog may be dealing with. If your dog is sneezing or coughing, it’s best to keep them away from other pets until you know what the diagnosis is.

How is dog flu spread?

Dog flu is commonly believed to spread through the infected respiratory droplets found in a sick dog’s coughs or sneezes. Understandably, canine influenza is often more common in kennels and shelters where there are a lot of dogs held within a small space. What are some other common places your dog may contract canine influenza?

  • Dog parks
  • Doggy day cares
  • Group training classes
  • Anywhere else where your dog would be exposed to other dogs

But you can feel better knowing that your dog can’t catch the flu from you. Canine influenza and the kind of flu that humans contract are not the same at all. You also can’t catch the flu from your dog. However, as we mentioned before, canine influenza originated in other types of animals and spread to dogs, and there have been reports of dogs spreading the flu to cats. So it’s important to isolate any infected dogs away from other pets.

Dog flu treatment

If your dog tests positive for canine influenza, you’ll want to work closely with your veterinarian to discuss the best form of treatment. Most treatment options they recommend will be focused on supporting your dog through their illness by providing fluids to keep them hydrated, and some form of anti-inflammatory if they’re experiencing any pain or fever. 

Your dog will most likely feel horrible, and act extremely lethargic. But with the right care and treatment plan from a veterinarian, it’s very possible for them to beat canine influenza and bounce back to their old, tail-wagging, happy and healthy behavior.

With the right treatment your dog can beat canine influenza
With the right care and treatment plan from a veterinarian, it’s very possible for them to beat canine influenza and bounce back to their old, tail-wagging, happy and healthy behavior.

How do I prevent dog flu?

There are a few ways to protect your dog from contracting any form of canine influenza:

Canine Influenza Vaccines

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from getting the dog flu is through vaccinations. At PetWellClinic we offer flu vaccines for dogs. The next time you bring your dog for a visit, ask our veterinarians about getting your dog vaccinated! This is an especially important option if your dog regularly socializes with other dogs outside of your home or needs to be boarded at a kennel often.

Stay in the Know

Keep up to date about pet health in your community. That way if there’s an outbreak of canine influenza, or any other kind of illness, you’ll know to keep your dog safe at home, away from other dogs until the outbreak passes. 

For example, Knoxville has had outbreaks of canine influenza in the past. Following your local animal control entities, community animal shelters, and PetWellClinic on social media can help keep you informed on what’s going on in the world of pet health. 

Any time your dog is sick can be scary and make you anxious as a pet owner. Taking the steps to do everything in your power to prevent your dog from contracting canine influenza is the most important way to keep them safe. 

Get your pet’s health started on the right foot in 2021 by pre-purchasing a Dog Wellness Package! Visit us today to talk to one of our veterinarians about the best options for your dog. At PetWellClinic our goal is to make high-quality veterinary care easy and convenient for pet owners. With no appointment necessary, you can visit one of our locations at any time.

PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with your convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.

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