What You Need to Know About Canine Influenza


Frisbees aren’t the only things your dog can catch—canine influenza is also flying through the air and it’s highly contagious.

This season has been a particularly bad flu season for humans, and its canine counterpart is also on the rise. Strains of the respiratory infection have been confirmed across the U.S., including in Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Washington and parts of California.

While the disease has a very low mortality rate, it is important for pet parents to be educated about dog flu symptoms, prevention and treatment. Here are a few key facts for retailers to pass along to their consumers this flu season.

What are the signs of infection?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, nasal and eye discharge, reduced appetite and lethargy. Some pups display no signs of sickness and most recover within two to three weeks. However, dogs can develop a secondary infection and eventually pneumonia, though this is rare.

How is it spread?
Like the human flu, canine influenza is spread through the air via coughing and sneezing from infected dogs. Most dogs are susceptible to infection; approximately 80 percent of pups that come into contact with it become sick. Pets who frequent dog parks, groomers, boarders, daycare or other places with lots of dogs are most at risk. 

Are there prevention and treatment options?
One of the best ways to prevent infection is to get pets vaccinated with a doggy flu shot. While this is not 100 percent effective, it can reduce the risk of infection or, at least, lessen the severity of illness.

If your pup is displaying flu symptoms, the CDC recommends scheduling an appointment with your vet for treatment options. Owners should be sure to keep infected dogs isolated from other canines for at least three weeks. 


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