What to Know About Canine Influenza to Protect Man’s Best Friend

The cold and flu season is in full force as you, your family, and coworkers have the sniffles and coughs that just won't go away. Yet don't forget the health and wellbeing of your furry friends. Dogs can catch canine influenza as they experience a loss of appetite, runny noses, high fevers, lethargy and coughs. 

Just like the human flu, there is no cure for canine influenza. Yet you can minimize the symptoms and speed up the recovery process with a bivalent vaccine as well as providing your dog with rest, keeping your dog hydrated, and giving them plenty to eat. 

Types of Canine Influenza 

There are two types of dog flu viruses: Type A Canine Influenza (CIV) H3N2 and H3N8. These are respiratory illnesses that are highly contagious between dogs. The severity of the illness will be based on the dog, as some will have a mild reaction while others will have a more serious case of dog flu. While the death rate for canine flu is less than 10%, you will want to protect dogs who are very young and very old who could experience additional complications. Also, CIV H3N2 can be transmitted to cats. So you want to keep the infection isolated. 

Treating Canine Influenza 

Luckily, our offices carry the bivalent vaccine which is made by Zoetis that can protect your dog and minimize the symptoms for both the CIV H3N2 strain and the CIV H3N8 strain. If your pet has been previously treated with the H3N8 vaccine, they should get an additional shot to protect them against the CIV H3N2 virus. After obtaining the initial bivalent vaccine, your dog can then obtain a booster 3 weeks later. Afterward, they should get a yearly flu vaccine. 

What to Do to Protect Your Pets 

While humans cannot contract the canine influenza, you still need to take precautions to keep your pet well and to limit the spread of the virus to other pets. Like the human flu, the dog flu is spread from germs that are transmitted by coughing and sneezing pets that are already infected, and from surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus. 

If you suspect canine influenza, take your pet to the veterinarian for an appointment. Keep your sick dog confined as the virus can survive up to 24 hours on surfaces, clothing and hands. Always wash your hands when taking care of your pet to minimize the spread of the virus, wash shared toys, and keep other healthy pets away from your sick dog. 

With care and treatment, your dog can recover from canine influenza. Keep your pooch protected by getting them the Zoetis bivalent to prevent flu outbreaks in your area. 

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