Canine Influenza is on the Rise

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Dogs and humans are, unfortunately, susceptible to a myriad of diseases and illnesses, though typically these are specific to each species. But did you know that dogs can get the flu just like humans?

As strange as it sounds, it’s absolutely true. In fact, canine flu (also referred to as canine influenza or CIV) has impacted domestic dogs for decades, but in recent years the number of reported cases has grown. (Check out this animated map to see just how much dog flu has exploded in the last few years.) As the popularity of dog parks, doggie hotels and the like have grown, so too have the incidents of communicable illness. This doesn’t mean you should sequester your pet away and never let them chase sticks with neighbor pets ever again. Instead, we suggest taking a more metered approach and simply educate yourself on methods of prevention, signs to look out for and ways to care for your pet in the event they become sick.

Prevention of Dog Flu
One of the best means of protecting your four-legged best friend is to have them vaccinated against the flu. Just as you would your human family members, your fuzzy friends can visit the vet and receive a vaccine that is formulated to fight the latest strains of canine flu. The flu vaccine is administered in two doses, three weeks apart to healthy dogs eight weeks of age or older. The current strain is especially virulent and has been reported to worsen to high fevers and pneumonia. Schedule your vet visit today and take precautionary steps to keep your pup healthy.

Signs of Dog Flu

Now that you know dogs can get the flu like you, do you know how to spot the signs of flu in your dog? According to DogFlu.com, the most common signs of dog flu are a high fever (103 degrees Fahrenheit), loss of appetite, tiredness, cough (possibly with mucus) and a runny nose with secretions that can range in color from clear to thick yellow or pink. However, these signs can also indicate other respiratory illnesses, so at the first sign of any of these, head straight to the vet for a proper diagnosis. And if you notice these symptoms in other dogs in places you frequent, alert the owners of your concerns and then immediately cease visiting those spots until you know those animals have been seen or treated by a vet and given the all-clear.

Treatment for Dog Flu

As you’re well aware from your own battles with the flu, once you have it, you can’t cure it. It must unfortunately run its course. The same goes for dogs who have the flu. However, also like in human cases, you can take some actions to lessen the impact and provide some mild relief until it is out of their system. Keep them rested, hydrated and well-fed and monitor them to make sure they are on the mend. In the event their flu seems to develop into something worse, like pneumonia, at this point you’ll need to contact your vet to discuss medical treatments that may include antibiotics.

Now that you’re aware of the signs of CIV and how to take precautions to prevent it in your household, contact your vet today to schedule a vaccination visit. Total Veterinary Care clinics are offering 20% off all dog flu vaccinations during the months of September and October. Don’t hesitate – book your dog flu vaccine appointment promptly and save a few bucks while you’re at it!

Bonnie Ruszczyk

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