This dog flu thing is serious business, folks. A new strain of the potentially deadly flu has been reported in at least 25 states and is still spreading.
“Canine influenza exhibits the same symptoms as kennel cough at first,” said Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital’s Dr. Tom Watson, “but can be much more serious or even fatal in some cases.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can’t catch the disease from pets, but the H3N2 virus can spread very easily between dogs through direct contact, coughing and sneezing from infected dogs, by uninfected dogs coming into contact with contaminated objects – think toys, bones, etc., and by moving contaminated objects or materials between infected and uninfected dogs.
Your best bet is to keep your dog away from dogs you don’t know are healthy, especially strays. And Dr. Watson reminds us there is a vaccination for dog flu, so ask your veterinarian if your dog hasn’t gotten one.
If your dog is coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease, keep them away from other dogs. Keep toys, blankets, clothing, equipment, surfaces, and hands clean, especially after exposure to dogs showing signs of respiratory disease. And as always, ask your veterinarian what to do if you think your dog is sick or has been exposed. There’s a test for the dog flu, and that can determine how – or if – your dog should be treated for the flu.