Nobody likes to see their best friend sick. Back in April we brought you the news that dog flu, which originated in Asia, had made it’s way to American soil. Since then the situation has changed a bit, and we’re glad to give you an update.
The Bad News
The Type A, H3N2 influenza was first reported in Chicago, where it then spread throughout the Midwest, but now it has reached most parts of the country. Unfortunately, the bug has sickened more than a thousand dogs and killed many. Still, Douglas Aspros, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association says, “It is an epidemic, it’s not, however, something that people should panic about.”
The Good News
If you’re worried that your dog has the flu, your vet can now tell you for sure. Kansas State University veterinarians say there are a series of tests your vet can run to determine which type of dog flu is making your pup sick and determine if the virus is mutating.
A Reminder: What To Look For
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say signs of dog flu can include a cough, runny nose and fever, but that not all dogs show signs of illness. The severity of the illness can vary—some dogs have no signs, while others can develop a severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death. If you’re worried your dog might have the flu, you should most definitely give your vet a call.
How To Avoid It
There is a vaccine, but it won’t protect against all strains of the virus. Dr. Susan Nelson, a veterinarian says, “…the main thing is be vigilant about where you’re taking your dog, watch for signs. This is a disease we’re going to see most often from places where other dogs are, doggie daycares, dog parks, boarding facilities where lots of dogs are grouped together." Another thing to keep in mind: just because human flu season is over, doesn’t mean it’s over for dogs. It doesn’t work the same way for them, and they can get it any time of year.
We wish you and your dog a happy and healthy summer! Remember to play it safe and look for the signs your pup might be sick, but also to have a blast outdoors while the temperatures are so inviting.