What You Need To Know About Dog Flu

Dog flu can be a killer. Dogs are not exempt from sickness and viruses. Their lives may also be threatened by contagious sicknesses frequent to their kind. One the most alarming is commonly known to us as dog flu, canine influenza or in medical terms H3N8 influenza virus.

For the past years, there has been a lot of information in the news about dog flu or as it is otherwise known as canine flu. More recently, the new bird flu or avian flu has emerged that has been spreading to humans too. With all this going on, it's enough to make you want to lock the doors, keep your dog safely hidden away and wait for it all to pass!

The good news is, you and your dog don't have to go into hiding to avoid catching anything. A few simple precautions will keep you safe and allow you and your dog to enjoy the outdoors to the full.

Let's start out by outlining some hard facts about dog flu or canine flu. The highly contagious virus which is responsible for canine flu was originally spotted in around 2004 in the greyhound racing population. Many dogs died as a result and many more taken ill. That said, the virus is shown to be deadly in only 10% of the most susceptible dogs. I.e. Young puppies or older dogs whose immune systems are weakened. More recently, canine flu has entered the domestic dog population. Although this may be the case, there are steps you can take to protect your dog.

Firstly, be aware that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has recommendations for good infection control practices. Wherever you take your dog to it groomer, pet store, boarding kennel, animal shelter or dog show, always ensure that they meet the AVMA standards. Any place that your dog is likely to be closely contained with other dogs in greater numbers than usual, always check those guidelines are being met.

You need to inquire as to how they cope with suspected dog flu cases. How do they isolate dogs that develop symptoms? Do they have a vet on call? When/how do they notify owners that their dog is showing symptoms. Asking all these questions will help you assess whether your dog will be o.k. there.

Additionally, if you think that you may have come into contact with a dog carrying the canine flu virus, wash your hands and clothes and anything you may have touched. Do this before coming into contact with other animals.

At the time of writing this article, there is no available vaccination for the canine flu. If you feel your dog may have canine flu or been exposed to canine flu, do not take them anywhere where other dogs will be congregating. Seek veterinary advice immediately.

If your dog does have dog flu the good news is that most dogs will recover in anything from 10 to 30 days. Most dogs will suffer from a persistent cough and a runny nose.

More severe cases will involve a fever and possibly pneumonia. The use of an intravenous may be needed with a course of antibiotics. Most dogs will recover from canine flu if cared for properly by a veterinarian.
Luckily, there is no evidence at the moment to suggest that people are at risk of catching dog flu. If you are worried about this then you can breathe easy.

Originally, the canine flu stemmed from the equine influenza virus which has been around for over 40 years. In this time, there has been no evidence to suggest anybody has caught the flu virus from a horse that had contracted it.

If you have concerns about dog flu, don't fear to take your dog for walks or meeting other dogs. Your dog needs to exercise and socialize as much as ever. The best course of action would be to take the above precautions mentioned in this article. Find out as much additional information as you can and just be aware. That way your dog gets to enjoy life, and stay safe at the same time.

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