what is dog flu?
The virus that causes dog flu is similar to, but different from, the virus that infects humans. There have been no reported cases of a flu virus passing from dogs to humans either in the United States or anywhere else in the world.
Dog flu originated in other animals and made the jump to dogs within the last few decades. It is a strain of type A influenza which specifically infects the respiratory system of dogs. It is not seasonal, and dogs can become infected at any time of year.
Diagnosis of dog flu
Dogs can catch the disease by coming into contact with a dog that is already infected. When an infected dog coughs, it can spread the virus for up to 20 feet. The virus can remain alive on people's clothes, dog toys or any other item for up to 24 hours. Your dog could become infected from any one of these sources.
A dog with dog flu will have symptoms similar to a human with flu. These include coughing, sneezing, a runny nose or watery eyes. The problem is, many of these symptoms are also associated with other diseases.
Diagnosing dog flu is very difficult even for vet. To give a definitive diagnosis your vet may want to do a blood test and conduct an X-ray of the dog’s lungs. They will sometimes use an instrument known as a bronchoscope to check the dog’s trachea.
protecting my dog from dog flu
Dog flu is extremely contagious between dogs and can spread rapidly. Authorities will often warn when there is an outbreak in a particular area. When such a warning is current, it is a good idea not to take your dog to a dog park, grooming parlor or any similar place where dogs congregate.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association dog flu has a mortality rate of 10%. Thankfully, right now, it is not that common, but you should keep alert and be aware of any outbreaks in your area.
If you suspect your dog has contracted dog flu, visit your vet. Treatment is normally via a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be given in severe cases. Your dog will need to be isolated to avoid spreading the virus further.