All About Dog Flu
Almost every person on earth experiences the flu at least once in their life. The experience of fever, aches, pains, and the uncontrollable urge to never leave your bed again are an experience one never forgets and never has the desire to repeat. The flu can last days or even weeks, but with lots of fluids and rest people generally recover over time with no long term effects.
It is a little-known fact, but an increasing phenomenon that dogs can contract a form of flu that is very closely related to the human strain. This form of flu, just like the human form, evolves and is resistant to many forms of medication. Dog flu is on the rise and as the numbers go up so do the number of dog flu deaths each year. Symptoms of dog flu are very closely related to humans, so here are some of the most common ones.
One of the first signs that a human is getting the flu is coughing. Many times this is simply attributed to food we have eaten, but coughing in a dog can be cause for concern. Coughing occurs when the respiratory tract becomes inflamed. Most of the time drinking water can help, but if the animal continues to cough a trip to the veterinarian may be in order.
One of the most uncomfortable aspects of the flu is uncontrollable sneezing. Sneezing for a dog is very rare under normal circumstances. However there are times where sneezing comes from simple allergies, but if it is prolonged and your dog has not been exposed to anything that could cause the sneezing it could possibly be the flu.
A dog with the potential to have the flu will not act like himself. A normally hyper dog will be noticeably more lethargic. It is very understandable to any person who has ever experienced the flu. You feel like garbage and want nothing more than to sleep it off.
Food for dogs is often their most happy time of the day. They beg for it and often eat too much, but if you notice that suddenly your dog becomes completely disinterested in eating a meal there may be a problem. It is important to pay attention to your dog’s eating habits to ensure that not eating does not become an ongoing problem making flu symptoms worse.
How They Contract the Flu
Dogs contract the flu exactly like humans; they have to be exposed to it. A social dog that comes in contact with a great many humans and other dogs are more likely to catch the flu rather than a dog that is mostly kept at home. The flu is extremely contagious so it is important that if your dog does catch the flu that you keep him away from other dogs and people.and inform any dog walking service you have used
Symptoms can be delayed by up to 72 hours. This means that your dog can have the flu for an entire 3 days and expose the illness to other dogs for that entire time. A dog can remain contagious for up to 2 weeks so it is important to keep your dog at home and away from others for the full 2 weeks.
Unlike human flu which can be prevented with a simple annual vaccination, the dog flu that is been named H3N2 by the Centres for Disease Control currently does not have a vaccination. The severity of this strain was noticed in Chicago when over 1,000 contracted this form of dog flu. Since it is almost impossible to contain a virus that is prone to dogs, the dog flu spread to neighbouring states and soon was being reported worldwide.
What to Do
The most important thing is to monitor your dog for any changes in his personality, diet, or demeanour. If your dog is one that frequents dog parks or has other forms of contact with many dogs it is vital that you watch your dog very closely during his interactions. Although the flu cannot be 100% prevented, the risk of contracting the virus can be greatly diminished by keeping your dog from getting too close to other dogs. One of the main avenues for dog flu to come into your dog’s body is nose to nose contact. When another dog has a runny nose or sneezes on your dog the risk of those germs entering your dog’s body greatly increases.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the flu from both humans as well as dogs is to disinfect your home often. Using a quality disinfectant on all hard surfaces and cleaning your dog’s sleeping area more often during flu season is another way of preventing the flu from making your dog miserable.
Above all, if you do notice flu like symptoms in your dog get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Early detection can mean the difference between a tragedy and overcoming the dog flu.
Finally if you use a Dog Walking Service of any type (or day care) make sure you tell them that your dog has dog flu so they can take the necessary precautions to avoid any other dogs they walk from catching it