Canine influenza has been sweeping the nation, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. It has recently been traced back to Asia and is said to have arrived in the Midwest United States in March of this year. The consequences of this very contagious illness are life-threatening, so as a responsible dog owner, you should try to stay informed about the latest “dog flu” trends. Here are a few of the basics that you need to know right now:
- Dogs are at highest risk of contracting canine influenza when they are confined in close quarters with other canines. In most cases, this translates to day care, boarding facilities, and grooming salons. If you’re concerned, speak with your facility’s staff to learn what measures they are taking to protect pets from spreading this and other illnesses.
- There is a canine influenza vaccine. However, it has (thus far) been very difficult for veterinarians to obtain. It’s also important for dog owners to understand that, much like the human flu vaccine, it does not provide complete protection. It does, however, improve the patient’s prognosis if exposed.
- The symptoms of canine influenza are very similar to those experienced by humans who have come down with the dreaded flu. Dogs with the virus will experience coughing (either dry or productive), fever, excessive nasal discharge, anorexia, and more.
Canine influenza is not yet well controlled, and this particular bug has moved to a total of 40 states since being introduced to the United States. Regardless of where you live in the country, if your dog is showing signs of lethargy or respiratory illness, you should speak to your family’s veterinarian. These symptoms are cause for concern, even in the absence of canine influenza, and you should also be careful about exposing your dog to other pets until a diagnosis has been made.
Whether your dog is a “home body” or a well-travelled pooch, take the time to learn more about this very serious condition by visiting www.DogInfluenza.com.