Monday, January 16, 2012

Yes, Dogs Can Catch The Flu

You get the chills, your nose runs, your chest feels heavy and you’re nauseous. You know these are signs of the flu coming. But what about when Rocko’s nose runs? Is he sick? Maybe, because  yes, dogs can catch the flu

Dogs Can Catch The Flu
“Humans aren't the only ones sneezing, sniffling and coughing their way through flu season. Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection that can make our beloved pups feel icky, too.
Much like in humans, the disease is spread through the air by sneezing, coughing and respiratory discharges. It is more common in dogs who live in urban settings or come in frequent contact with other dogs—doggie day-care, dog parks, dog shows, etc.

On the bright side, doggy flu is easily treatable with plenty of rest, healthy foods, extra fluids and sometimes additional meds. If you think your pup may be at a higher risk of catching Canine Influenza, the ASPCA recommends talking to your veterinarian about a special vaccine that helps prevent it.

Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center answer the most commonly asked questions about canine influenza virus.

What is the Canine Flu?
Canine influenza is a contagious viral infection of dogs, caused by Influenza Virus A subtype H3N8.

What does the Canine Flu do to dogs?
The canine influenza virus can cause mild to severe illness. Mild effects include a soft, moist cough with or without a low grade fever that lasts 10 to 30 days despite treatment, along with yellow/green nasal discharge if a secondary bacterial infection occurs. More severe illness can result in high grade fever as well as rapid/difficult breathing, which is usually caused by secondary pneumonia.

Is Canine Flu fatal?
Typically, most infected dogs develop mild to moderate signs that resolve within 10 to 30 days without problems. As with other flu viruses, fatalities can potentially occur, but are not common and are generally due to secondary complications such as bacterial pneumonia.

How easy is it for my dog to catch?
The virus is contagious—spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions. Thus far, most outbreaks have occurred between dogs who are kept in large numbers in relatively close quarters, such as greyhounds at racing tracks. The risk of infection in a canine who does not attend dog shows or frequent kennels is fairly low. However, because this is a recently emerged disease, there is no natural or vaccine-induced immunity—so all dogs are susceptible.

What can people do to help prevent spreading Canine Flu from one dog to another?
Any dog infected with Canine Flu or as any other respiratory disease should be kept away from other dogs until the illness completely resolves.

Solutions as simple as soap and water are effective disinfectants for eliminating the virus from surfaces.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, gloves should be worn when handling infected dogs or cleaning contaminated cages."  As reported by the ASPCA

When I was growing up the common belief was animals didn't get the same illnesses as people.  But that no longer appears to be the case because, yes, dogs can catch the flu too. To reduce your pet’s chances of catching the flu, keep him in tip-top condition. Always keep your surroundings clean and tidy to prevent germs from spreading. If you’d like to know more about canine influenza, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Dogs are like humans too, they also catch any diseases. Prevention is better than cure.