You probably already knew that flu season for humans lasts until May, but you may not know that the dog flu has made it’s way to the U.S. There’s no need to panic, but if you have a dog you should be informed about the situation, and know what to look out for. We’ll help you out.
What Researchers Know
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University have confirmed that at least 1,000 dogs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana have been infected with dog flu in the last month. The virus is a strain of H3N2, and is commonly found in Chinese and South Korean dog populations. It’s suspected to have come from Asia, but how it was introduced exactly is unknown. The virus is not believed to spread to humans.
What You Need To Know
- Prevention: Just like with humans, places packed with a lot of dogs will allow the virus to spread quickly. So if you live in the affected states you may want to steer clear of dog parks, doggy daycares, and other places with dogs in close quarters. There is a vaccine for the original strain of the virus, but just as with humans, the virus strain that’s going around can vary from the original. The strain of the virus affecting U.S. dogs doesn’t appear to be stopped by the vaccine available.
- Symptoms: It turns out dog flu and human flu cause similar symptoms, including: high fever, loss of appetite, coughing, stuffy nose, and lethargy.
- What To Do If Your Dog Shows Symptoms: Call your vet before bringing your pet in, and let them give you instructions. It’s important that you don’t just show up with Spot sneezing and coughing, as he has the potential to make other pets in your vet’s office sick (cats and ferrets can get it too!) If you work around animals it’s important you wash your hands often, as you can facilitate the spread of the germs.
- Why It's Serious: Most dogs who contract the illness will survive, but for some it has the potential to turn into a more serious respiratory infection-- puppies and older dogs are particularly at risk.
We at Brindles wish you and your pup a happy, healthy spring. Just keep a close eye on your pooch for any symptoms, and be sure to call your vet if you spot any sign of dog flu.