One of the newest flu threats today is not one that affects humans but can be fatal for man’s best friend. Canine influenza or dog flu is spreading across the nation and veterinarians have no vaccines to prevent the disease. Experts predict that 100% of dogs are susceptible to the new flu that has mutated from a form of influenza that previously affected only horses.
Dog flu is not easy to diagnose because early symptoms mimic another common canine condition called kennel cough. Kennel cough, however, is not serious and dog flu can be. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, cough, runny nose and respiratory symptoms. While just 5% or less of dogs that come down with canine influenza will die, the disease is more serious for older dogs and young pups.
Prevention and Protection
No vaccines have yet been developed that can immunize pets against dog flu. Experts expect that the disease will move rapidly through the dog population and that many animals will be affected. All dogs are susceptible to the disease.
Canine influenza is transmitted from one animal to another so dog owners are urged to keep their dogs separate from others. Avoid dog shows, kennels, boarding, and dog parks. Animal shelters may suffer many cases of canine flu because many dogs are packed together in close quarters.
Keep dogs separate from other dogs from outside the home or yard. When taking Fido for a walk, don’t allow the dog to interact with other dogs because one could transmit dog flu to your pet.
If a pet owner suspects that a dog has canine influenza, call the vet but don’t take the animal to the office unless the vet okay’s it to avoid further spread of this new threat to dogs.
Canine flu poses no threat to humans and cannot be transmitted from a dog to a person.