Dogs can become infected with a flu, called Canine Influenza. Here are some common questions and answers to your symptoms.
What is Canine Influenza ?
The virus that causes flu, Influenza Type A (H3N8), was first identified in Florida in 2004. It primarily infects the respiratory system and is extremely contagious. Some dogs can be exposed to the virus and fight off infection without showing clinical signs.
Is My Pet Susceptible to the Virus ?
“Juvenile, geriatric, and immunocompromised pets are more prone to contracting infectious diseases than healthy adults,” according to petMD spokesperson Dr. Patrick Mahaney. “Environments that promote canine congregation – such as boarding facilities and dog parks – are also hot zones for various diseases. These sites create the potential for direct interaction or exposure to the bodily secretions of other dogs (nasal, oral, etc.) and the exchange of disease causing agents. Additionally, the stress experienced during activity, travel, or confinement common alters of normal patterns of eating, eliminating, and sleeping, negatively enhancing the immune system and making our canine companions more susceptible to infection. ”
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Contracting the Virus ?
A vaccine was granted full license by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2009 (Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8), although it should be considered after speaking with your veterinarian.
“In addition to immunizations, it is important to reduce our exposure to infectious organisms and their immune systems can adequately fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites,” states petMD Contributor Patrick Mahaney, VMD. “This includes minimizing existing infectious disease in the body, as well as thriving in the canine mouth that readily enter the bloodstream and damage the kidneys, liver, and other organs. Additionally, maintaining a healthy body condition puts stress on all body systems and allows the function of microorganisms. ”
What Are the Symptoms ?
General symptoms include coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, fever, and lethargy. Red and / or runny eyes and runny nose may be seen in some dogs. In most cases, there is a history of contact with other dogs that carried the virus.
Canine influenza can manifest itself in two forms:
Mild – These dogs will have a cough that is typically moist and may have nasal discharge. Occasionally, it will be more of a dry cough.
Severe – Generally, these dogs have a high fever (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and develop signs very quickly. Pneumonia, specifically hemorrhagic pneumonia, can develop. The influenza virus affects the capillaries in the lungs, so the bleeding into the air sacs. Patients may also be infected with bacterial pneumonia, which can further complicate the situation.
How Do I Confirm My Dog Has Been Infected ?
Besides a physical, your veterinarian will want to perform a series of blood tests. Dogs with canine influenza, which are destructive to microorganisms. X-rays can also be the tasks of the lungs to characterize the type of pneumonia.
Another diagnostic tool called a bronchoscope can be used to see the trachea and larger bronchi. Cell samples can also be collected by conducting a bronchial wash. These samples will have large amounts of neutrophils and may contain bacteria.
How Is It Treated ?
Symptoms of the mild form or canine influenza last 10 to 30 days and usually go away on their own. Cough suppressants and / or antibiotics may be prescribed if a secondary bacterial infection exists. Rest and isolation from other dogs is important *.
The severe form needs to be treated aggressively with a broad spectrum of antibiotics, fluids and other general support treatments. Hospitalization and isolation are necessary until the dog is stable.