Spring is almost here and you've made it through flu season, but can your dog get the flu?
Well, it turns out that dogs CAN get the flu. There really isn't any evidence to suggest that we can get the canine influenza virus from our dogs, but there is some evidence to suggest that our dogs can get the flu from us. I did not know that!
The typical symptoms of canine influenza (H3N8) - a low fever, persistent cough, runny nose and just not feeling good are common symptoms, so you would need to take your dog to the vet to determine if indeed they did have the flu. While the canine flu isn't highly dangerous to your dog, it should be treated immediately by your vet so that it doesn't further develop into pneumonia or other serious infection. Once diagnosed, treatment is pretty much the same as it is for human flu - rest and fluids unless a bacterial infection develops, then antibiotics would be prescribed.
There is a canine flu vaccine available - however, you should discuss this with your vet as to whether or not it is appropriate for your dog. Certain areas of the country have a higher incidence of the flu virus, as well as dogs that are exposed to certain conditions. So check with your vet to see if it is right for your dog. I
n the meantime....Biddy and Tristan will be getting fewer kisses over the next few days until we are 100% and I will be watching them both to make sure they aren't showing any symptoms. Good to know...watch where you are taking your dog during flu season and who they come in contact with.
In Pet Therapy we always gave the dogs a quick wipe down with a sani-wipe after leaving nursing homes etc...might not be a bad idea to practice after all of our outings. I'm going to miss nuzzling with my two favorite pink noses for a few days...
Tips for staying Flu-free
1. Limit your dog's exposure to other dogs during flu season - a few less times at the dog park, dog show or class
2. Practice good hygiene - use sanitizing wipes on your dogs paws and coat after potentially being exposed
3. If you are sick...follow the same guidelines, good hygiene and limit your "nose-to-nose" contact with your dog.
4. If you suspect the flu - take your dog in to see the vet right away so that it doesn't develop into anything more serious.
5. Consider the vaccine if your think your dog is in a high risk situation