We're all familiar with how unpleasant the flu can be for us. But what about the flu in our dogs? Canine Influenza is a new disease that has been affecting dogs throughout the U.S. for the last 2-3 years. It is highly contagious, and some cases can be fatal. While it is was first identified in racing greyhounds in 2004, all breeds are equally susceptible to the disease. Being that it is a new disease, and dogs have no natural immunity for it, the statistics are not too encouraging. Nearly all of the dogs who come in contact with the disease become infected, and about 80% develop clinical signs of the virus. There are two syndromes of Canine Flu: a milder one, and a more severe case. The milder syndrome is what most dogs contract. For those dogs that develop the severe, pneumonia syndrome, the fatality rate is about 1-5%.How Is It Spread?
The Canine Flu can be spread by airborne means (sneezing, coughing, etc.), coming in contact with contaminated objects, as well as coming in contact with people who have been near an infected dog. Kennel workers have been reported to have transferred the disease to other dogs.What Are the Symptoms?
Dogs will develop symptoms about 2-5 days from when they were first infected. About 20% of infected dogs will not show signs of the flu, and become unkown spreaders of the disease. A persistent cough is very common for the Canine Flu. This can make it difficult to tell whether your dog has the flu or kennel cough. Coughing can last up to three weeks with the canine flu, despite antibiotics or cough medication. Below are some of the most common symptoms of Canine Influenza:Bad cough, hacking, gagging Runny nose; thick discharge Depression, low-energy Severe cases develop a high fever (104-106 degrees Fahreheit) with increased respiratory rates and other signs of pneumonia
Can It Be Treated?
There is no vaccine available yet for dogs with the influenza virus infection, which is why prevention is so important. Here are some things you can do:
- Avoid allowing your dog to share toys or dishes with any other dogs grouped together.
- Take extra precautions in boarding facilities, dog shows, classes, or parks.
- Use disinfectants and 10% bleach to kill the virus on inanimate objects. Use often wherever there are large groups of dogs.
Tomlyn Trifectant Disinfectant (10lbs) Trifectant Disinfectant kills 99.99% of viruses, bacteria and fungi for the ultimate in disinfecting. Trifectant Board Spectrum Disinfectant (50 tablets) is a highly effective, broad spectrum disinfectant for use to against numerous microorganisms affecting animals:virus, gram positive and gram negative bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma. In addition, if your dog has any persistent coughing or gagging you should take it to your veterinarian immediately to get a proper diagnosis. There are some tests your dog can take to detect the virus. Blood samples and nasal swabs are the most common. As with any disease, early detection is crucial. Nasal swabs must be taken within about 72 hours after your dog has developed symptoms.