Also known as dog flu, the canine influenza is spreading its way across the United States and affecting more dogs each day. This is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza virus. To make things even worse, there are two different types of A influenza dog flu virus. The first one is the H3N8 virus and the other the H3N2 virus.
The H3N8 virus made its appearance in 2000, and four years later started affecting the dogs in the United States. The virus originated from horses and got transmitted to racing Grayhounds that raced on the same horse tracks.
The H3N2 virus was initially found in birds, and then it was transmitted to dogs. Now, this virus can be transmitted between dogs and cats. The virus was first detected in 2007 in China and South Korea. In 2015 the H3N2 virus occurred in the United States, and so far it was reported in more than 30 states.
Even though the dog flu is widely spread, the silver lining is: it has a low mortality rate of only 10%. This is probably the silver lining and good news for all dog owners.
Check out this infographic for more facts on the dog flu in order to better help you protect your pooch:
How to Keep them Healthy
The reason why so many dogs get infected with canine influenza is that the virus is easily spread from one dog to another. Your pooch can be infected by being in the direct contact with a carrier, through the air, and through a contaminated object, like a food bowl, toy, leash, or a blanket.
Once a dog gets infected, it takes 2 days for him to develop the first symptoms. The dog will start to cough, sneeze, and develop a fever that is accompanied by the general feeling of lethargy. For both the H3N8 and the H3N2 viruses the first 5 days are the same, and during that time the dog should receive treatment and show signs of recovery.
However, even though the dog seems healthy, he still carries the virus within him and can transmit it to other dogs. It takes 15 days for dogs with H3N8 virus to stop being infectious. On the other hand, the H3N2 stays in a dog’s system for 25 days during which time he can make other dogs sick.
Since dog flu is taking the forms of an epidemic, it is best to take on the preventive measures and keep your pooch protected. The best way you can do that is to vaccinate him for canine influenza. Other methods are less reliable and include isolating infected animals, decontamination, and avoiding contact with potentially ill dogs.
The treatment for the dog flu usually include antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory meds, and IV fluids. Since all dogs are different you should be in touch with your vet and take your dog to regular checkups. This disease also causes loss of appetite; thus it is recommended to feed him with a “dog food to gain weight” diet. These foods have more calories and will help your pooch get back on all four legs a lot faster.
Like with all viruses, the only effective way of protecting your dog from canine influenza is to get him vaccinated. You probably get your flu shots on time every year, why shouldn’t it be the same for your dog?
About the Author
Charles B. Hardy is the founder of pawpawlover.com. Originally a vet, Charle has a tremendous love for dogs and is the owner of a Golden Retriever. He aspires to share his experience with anyone who cares about dogs well-being.