Could Your Dog Be At Risk For Canine Flu
Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Canine flu (which is also known as dog flu or canine influenza), is a recently identified respiratory disease in dogs which is caused by a special strain of Type A influenza, which is known to infect dogs, but can’t be transmitted to humans. There are 2 different types of the canine flu, namely H3N8 virus and H3N2 virus.
Canine Influenza Transmission
Canine flu can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected dog, by contact with any contaminated objects/surfaces, and by people moving between the infected and the uninfected dogs. Therefore, the dog owners whose dogs are showing signs and symptoms of the canine flu illness shouldn’t participate in group activities with their dogs, or bring the dogs to places where other uninfected dogs can get exposed to the canine flu virus. Surfaces, clothing, equipment, and hands need to be properly cleaned and disinfected after any kind of exposure to dogs showing signs of the canine flu illness.
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Flu
The most common symptoms of canine flu tend to be somewhat similar to the flu symptoms which are typically found in humans. These can include, but not limited to; fever, runny nose, lethargy (or tiredness), rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, coughing, lack of appetite, discharge form the nose, green or cloudy discharge from the eyes, sneezing, among others. But unlike in the cases of human flu, not every canine with the flu shows signs and symptoms of the disease, although they still can transmit the disease to uninfected dogs. The severity of the illness can vary from showing no symptoms at all, to a serious illness which can lead to pneumonia, and even at times death.
Treatment of Canine Flu
Treatment of canine flu is mainly symptomatic. If your dog has a milder form of the illness, certain medications can be prescribed by your veterinarian so as to help make your dog more comfortable while dealing with the canine flu. If the dog has a fever, the veterinarian might use anti inflammatory medication so as to help lower the fever. Cough suppressants can be utilized to help a coughing dog, and to keep him/her more comfortable. Antibiotics are usually prescribed in dogs who have a more severe form of the illness, so as to treat or prevent secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia (note that, antibiotics aren’t an effective treatment for the canine flu virus).
Due to the highly infectious nature of the canine flu illness, a dog suffering from the illness should be isolated immediately, and rested. Majority of the dogs usually recover naturally in about 2 to 3 weeks without any further complications. That said, it’s important to know that the canine flu treatment mainly consists of supportive care; this helps your dog mount a better immune response.
There is a vaccine available to control the transmission of the canine influenza virus, and minimize its’ impact on the infected dogs, however it might not be able to completely prevent your dog(s) from getting the canine flu. One of the best ways of preventing your dog(s) from contracting the canine flu is to always be aware of any kind of outbreaks in your locality, and react accordingly. In case you happen to come into contact or get exposed to a dog exhibiting flu-like symptoms, you need to properly wash your hands with soap water, and change the clothes before touching your dog(s). If your dog happens to get exposed to another dog exhibiting the flu-like symptoms, then you need to immediately remove your dog from that area, and disinfect any equipment, clothing, objects, and such other things that the infected dog came into contact with. Likewise, if your dog has the canine influenza virus, or is coughing and showing such other signs of the respiratory illness, then it is important to keep him/her at home and away from other uninfected dogs, til he/she has fully recovered.
It also helps to avoid dog daycares, dog parks and such other facilities where the canine influenza virus could easily be transmitted.
Preventing or limiting exposure to areas where the flu outbreak has been reported, is one of the best preventative measures you can take. To do this, you should ask your veterinarian if there have been any kind of outbreaks in your local area so that you can know the places to avoid.
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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