Flu Season for the Dogs

May 11, 2016

Once again the dog flu is making the rounds and this flu season there's a scary new strain advancing as well.  This newest strain of canine influenza (H3N2) first made headway in the US in early 2015 and has already traveled across 26 states and is likely to continue spreading before flu season is over.  Like people, pets travel by train, plane and automobile and like people, they can be susceptible to flu bugs.  This particular strain of canine influenza (H3N2) seems to be spreading faster because many of the dogs who become infected show few or no symptoms and can be contagious for up to three weeks.
     What exactly is the dog flu?  

     It's a contagious respiratory disease caused by two specific viruses: H3N2 and H3N8.  The dog flu is very similar to the human flu; the symptoms are the same: cough, runny nose, loss of energy and appetite.  Like the human flu--because it's a viral disease, there's not a specific treatment, so dogs need supportive care to boost their immunity.  Keeping your pet well rested, hydrated, and continuing with good nutrition are all important tools in managing the symptoms and preventing complications.  If a secondary infection occurs, antibiotics can be prescribed if needed.
     In April 2015, over a thousand dogs were treated for this nasty virus in Chicago alone.  Fortunately, two new vaccines for the H3N2 strain became available in the fall.  The question is: Do you need to rush out and get your dog immunized?  At present, there are no reported cases of canine influenza H3N2 here in Utah and the count for the H3N8 strain has been minimum.  At Doggy's Big Day we are keeping in touch with the local veterinarians and will update you if and when this changes.  Awareness and information are vital in understanding our furry friends needs, so they can stay healthy and happy. 
     What can you do if you suspect your dog has the flu?  Contact your local veterinarian immediately and implement the supportive care of hydration, rest, and nutrition.    
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