There is some truth to the phrase “sick as a dog” after all.
Your furry best friend is also susceptible to the flu, and this year the virus is making the rounds to pups across the US.
Scientists at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine gather data on Canine Influenza (CIV) around the country. They have confirmed more than 200 cases in California, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan in the last 45 days.
The two virus strains (H3N2 and H3N8) found in dogs are similar to those found in humans and exhibit the same sort of symptoms: low-grade fever, coughing, runny nose, reduced appetite, and general fatigue. All dogs are susceptible regardless of age or breed.
Unlike the human variation, dog flu doesn’t have a seasonal pattern and pooches can get sick and spread the virus year-round. CIV is transmitted any time saliva droplets make their way from an infected dog to another through coughing, sneezing, nose-touching, and even barking.
It is recommended puppy parents quarantine their pooches if they suspect a flu infection and the exact amount of time depends on what strain has been contracted. it's recommended a pup with H3N8 be quarantined for about a week, and a whopping three for dogs with H3N2.
The only sure way to test for CIV is via a Canine Respiratory PCR Panel, which distinguishes between the two strains and tests for a variety of other respiratory viruses.
CIV infections have not shown a significant mortality rate - less than 10 percent of dogs die from the flu - but the virus can still compromise immunity and normal lungs function, especially if your pooch comes in contact with bacterial pneumonia. Just like when you’re feeling under the weather, it’s important to let your dog rest, relax, and recuperate when sick.
Pups can also get vaccinated against both flu strains, but it’s only recommended for those with a high risk of exposure like dogs in a shelter, who attend doggy daycare, or who are boarded in a kennel.
While it may be called canine influenza, it can also be passed on to our feline friends. It’s recommended kitty parents also keep a keen eye out for signs and symptoms related to CIV.
This year every part of the continental US shows “widespread” flu activity in humans, but have no fear! Dog flu is common but it is extremely rare for your best bud to contract the human variation from you.