The flu season of 2018 has been awful.
Really across all species.
So far, the human flu virus has killed 30 people, many of them young and healthy. Now, the virus is spreading amongst dogs.
Dog flu, or canine influenza has been spreading across the United States with cases seen in Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and now, even in Canada for the first time ever. And it's spreading fast. A clinic in San Francisco reported seeing 50 flu cases in a mere two weeks. It is a different strain than the one affecting humans, but is is no less dangerous. If not treated correctly, it can be fatal.
The dog flu is usually spread between dogs at kennels, shelters, dog parks, and groomers, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. It is transmitted through "droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing."
The dog flu can affect cats as well.
"If the pets are unvaccinated, you definitely don't want to take them to daycare centers, kennels," Dr. Daniel Brauer, a vet at the Dayton South Veterinary Clinic, told WHIO News. "Your pet just needs to sniff it, and they will get it if they're not vaccinated."
If either your cat or your dog is sneezing, coughing, has a high fever, has a runny nose, dripping nose, or really any nasal discharge, is more lethargic than usual or isn't eating, take your furry friend to the vet immediately so that it doesn't morph into something more serious like pneumonia, other respiratory disease or a secondary bacterial infection.
Dog owners can help minimize the chance of infection by washing and disinfecting leases and toys if they go to doggy daycare or if they come in contact with any other dogs. Also make sure you wash your hands after the dog park since you'll be petting other pooches.
Finally, make sure your pets are up to date with vaccines, and ask your vet about what flu vaccine is available.
The strains of canine influenza virus that are most prevalent this year are the H3N8 and H3N2 virus.
Have you seen a case of canine flu in your area this year? Tell us in the comments below.
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