A canine form of influenza that has caused illness in numerous dogs in Illinois is reported to be spreading throughout the midwestern USA, according to Dr. Jose Arce of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The virus, thought to have originated in Chicago, IL, has already spread to 12 surrounding states.
The H3N2 flu can cause serious illness in some dogs, while others will experience mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms. Veterinarians can now diagnose this dog flu using a test offered by IDEXX industries, where, according to Tracie Hotchner, most diagnostic testing and research on canine diseases is performed.
How is Canine Influenza Spread?
Just like with human influenza viruses, the dog flu can be deadly for vulnerable pets. If your pet is very young, very old, has a health condition such as cancer or other immune-affecting disorder, the dog flu can make them very ill or even cause death.
How is Canine Influenza Treated?
If diagnosed early, supportive health care can help, but the best measure is to prevent your pet from contracting this very contagious disease. If you have a young puppy, older dog or dog with health issues, avoid coming into contact with other dogs in large numbers. Dog parks, boarding kennels, doggie daycare centers and even veterinary clinics are potentially hazardous locations for vulnerable pets.
Pet owners should watch their dogs for symptoms such as unusual tiredness (lethargy), cough, excessive panting, vomiting and diarrhea, irritability and lack of appetite. A visit to your veterinarian is essential for any dog showing flu symptoms, since early health care measures can prevent the development of secondary infections and pneumonia.
Dogs with flu should be kept away from other dogs, and be provided with a safe, quiet and comfortable area in which to recover. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times, and they should be supervised carefully for signs of worsening illness.
If you work with dogs, take care to protect your own pet at home by washing your hands frequently and changing clothes on returning home.
You can learn more about Canine Influenza at:
Debbie Moore – Dogs and Puppies Central