Canine Influenza

Canine InfluenzaThough you may be familiar with flu outbreaks, did you know that your dog can catch the flu as well? Recent outbreaks of canine influenza across the country have many veterinarians asking patients to be mindful of their pet’s behavior and to bring them in if they show signs of illness to prevent the further spread of the virus. If you are a dog owner, no need to panic, but you should familiarize yourself with facts about the canine flu so that you can make sure your pet stays happy and healthy.

What is the Canine Influenza?

Canine influenza, also known as the dog flu, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by an influenza A virus. Two strains of the virus can cause canine influenza: H3N8 and H3N2. Both variants infect the respiratory system and are extremely contagious for dogs.

There are no reported cases of any humans having been infected with any variant of the canine influenza virus. Though it poses little to no threat to humans, dogs are 98% likely to catch the virus if they encounter an infected dog.

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs of canine influenza can include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal discharge
  • Reduced appetite
  • Runny eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Wet or dry cough

It is important to note that your dog may not display all these symptoms. Though most cases are mild, some can turn severe. In severe cases, pneumonia may develop, and your pet will need more immediate veterinary care.

If you suspect your dog has canine influenza, contact your veterinarian, and schedule an appointment immediately.

How Does Canine Influenza Spread?

Similar to human forms of the flu, canine influenza is an airborne virus that affects the respiratory system of the host. It can spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, barking, and sneezing. It can also spread through contaminated objects in the environment such as water and food bowls, collars, kennel surfaces, bedding, and toys.

Crowded areas such as grooming facilities, kennels, doggy daycares or hotels, and dog parks can be breeding grounds for canine influenza. If an outbreak is reported in your area, be sure to avoid areas frequented by other dog owners.

Treatment

When going to the veterinarian be sure to mention your concerns as canine influenza is highly contagious. Your veterinarian may request that you wait outside until your appointment time to prevent spreading the virus within the waiting room.

Diagnosing canine influenza can be difficult without a veterinarian as the virus shares some symptoms associated with kennel cough. Your vet can conduct a physical examination and order any additional tests needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment focuses on supporting your dog and keeping them comfortable during recovery.

In mild cases, cough suppressants may be given as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to reduce any fever. If any secondary infection has developed as a result of the flu, antibiotics will also be administered.

Rest and isolation from other dogs are also key components to canine influenza treatment. Most vets recommend quarantine for a minimum of 21 days to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure a proper recovery.

In severe cases, your pet may be treated with fluids, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and supportive in-hospital care. Some cases can lead to pneumonia which can become serious and deadly when untreated.

Your vet will also discuss appropriate quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of the virus within your home and can give you information on pet-safe disinfectant solutions to help kill the virus in your home. All surfaces, clothing, leashes, collars, equipment, bedding, toys, and serving bowls need to be disinfected.

Prevention

There is a vaccine available for each strain. If you live in an area where outbreaks may be common or plan to travel with your pet a lot, your veterinarian may recommend the vaccine for your dog as a precaution.

The best way to prevent your dog from contracting canine flu is to keep him away from public areas such as dog-friendly parks and restaurants as well as kennels when recent cases are reported in the area. This will reduce your pet’s risk.

By knowing what to look for and what steps to take if you suspect your dog is ill, you can better care for your beloved furry friend. For more information on the canine flu or to schedule an appointment, contact Utah Veterinary Hospital today.

Testimonials

I brought in my 9 week old kitten who had an injured leg. They were so compassionate and took the best care of him. He is in a splint and will do... read more

Melissa D.

UVH is awesome! I take my puppy Kona here and the whole staff is wonderful and welcoming and take care of Kona with care! I'm glad I chose this... read more

TaNaya H.

Absolutely amazing! I would recommend them to everyone! Not one animal hospital in salt lake would see my guinea pig, the drive was a little far but... read more

Anastasia A.

My pet rabbit seemed to be in pain and I called Utah Veterinary Hospital to see if I could bring him in for an emergency appointment. They were able... read more

Chanel N.

Dr. Rivera and his aides are wonderful! The same cannot be said about the current front desk receptionists. They desperately need training in public... read more

Debbie W.

I was impressed by the vets knowledge as the species of lizard i have aren't super common yet in the pet trade but he knew exactly what was going on... read more

Riley H.

Dr.Rivera & Erin did an amazing job caring for our bunny Gracie. I'm so glad we found a veterinarian willing and with experience working with... read more

Elise

This is the best vet in Utah County. They treat both cats, dogs and other exotic animals. The doctors are super helpful. The staff is incredibly... read more

Matt S.

Melissa D.

I brought in my 9 week old kitten who had an injured leg. They were so compassionate and took the best care of him. He is in a splint and will do laser therapy to heal quicker. I am so grateful they had a cancellation and could get me in. Dakota and Dr Rivera explained everything to me with upfront pricing that I could afford. I will be bringing both of my kittens here for all their veterinary needs. Again I am so grateful, a day later and my kitten is comfortable and healing.

TaNaya H.

UVH is awesome! I take my puppy Kona here and the whole staff is wonderful and welcoming and take care of Kona with care! I'm glad I chose this veterinary hospital!

Anastasia A.

Absolutely amazing! I would recommend them to everyone! Not one animal hospital in salt lake would see my guinea pig, the drive was a little far but well worth it!! Great staff and doctors. Very clean and so welcoming!!!

Chanel N.

My pet rabbit seemed to be in pain and I called Utah Veterinary Hospital to see if I could bring him in for an emergency appointment. They were able to get him scheduled within a few hours, which was miraculous considering we had not been to this clinic before. Tragically, they found my rabbit was too ill to continue living. Throughout the entire process all of the staff were empathic, compassionate, and caring. They even sent a personalized card a week later expressing their condolences. I highly recommend their services and plan to take any future pets there for care. Thank you so much for your support during this hard time for our family.

Debbie W.

Dr. Rivera and his aides are wonderful! The same cannot be said about the current front desk receptionists. They desperately need training in public relations. When I expressed my frustration with one of them, she told me I could go to a different vet. As per her suggestion, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

Riley H.

I was impressed by the vets knowledge as the species of lizard i have aren't super common yet in the pet trade but he knew exactly what was going on and taught me something new. I would recommend this vet for anyone with a reptile or other exotic pet. All the staff were very nice and helpful as well!!

Elise

Dr.Rivera & Erin did an amazing job caring for our bunny Gracie. I'm so glad we found a veterinarian willing and with experience working with bunnies. Thank you for all your hard work! It's very much appreciated & it means a lot to us.

Matt S.

This is the best vet in Utah County. They treat both cats, dogs and other exotic animals. The doctors are super helpful. The staff is incredibly friendly and so nice and my pet is very afraid of the doctors and we had a little emergency and they were able to get us in same day and we just had a wonderful experience.
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