The Flu You Have Versus Dog Flu: 5 Things To Know

  • 13/01/2018

It’s not just humans suffering from the flu this winter. Dogs can come down with the virus as well, putting a crimp in such canine duties as fetching a tennis ball or greeting you warmly at the door.

Symptoms in dogs are similar to those in people. Dogs with the flu have a cough, runny nose and decreased appetite, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dogs suffering from the flu also may be lethargic with a fever of up to 105 degrees (typical temperature is 101-102 degrees).

In most cases, the flu is not fatal, the AVMA said. The fatality rate is less than 10 percent, and most dogs recover within two to three weeks.

There is no evidence that humans can catch the flu from dogs, the AVMA said. And while there were some cases in which the H1N1 (swine) was passed from people to pets, such events are extremely rare.

5 things you need to know about canine flu

1. The two strains, H3N8 and H3N2, are highly contagious and can be passed by coughing, sneezing and barking, according to the AVMA.

2. The virus can live up to 48 hours on surfaces, so it’s important to wash any shared dog toys. Also, wash your hands after touching your dog, as you could pass the virus to another dog.

3. Coughing is a common sign of the flu, but also that of an upper respiratory infection. The AVMA recommends a vet visit to determine the cause.

4. There is no cure for the virus, only supportive treatment. If your vet determines it’s the flu, be sure your dog has access to plenty of water and a quiet place to rest. Isolate the infected dog from others. Medical treatment may be required if the virus leads to a secondary bacterial infection. Fluids may need to be administered intravenously to keep the dog hydrated.

5. A vaccination is available for one of the H3N8 strain, the AVMA noted. Check with your vet to see if a vaccination is recommended.

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