Anyone who has suffered through the misery of the flu knows how bad it makes you feel, not to mention the danger it poses particularly to the very young, elderly and those with compromised immune systems. But, did you know the flu could attack your dog?
In 2015 widespread flu among canines is being reported throughout the United States, with a number of outbreaks in the East and Midwest. There have been a number of cases of dog deaths.
What Are The Symptoms?
The dog version of the flu acts surprisingly like the human flu – though humans can’t catch the canine version and vice versa. If your dog gets the flu – and its quite easy for it to get it – you’ll notice your dog seems tired and lethargic, doesn’t want to eat and may have a fever (which in dogs would be between 104 to 106 degrees). But symptoms are not always evident. Experts say up to 20 percent of dogs that get the flu don’t exhibit any symptoms at all.
Whether your dog shows symptoms or not, you are dealing with a dangerous situation. It can easily turn into pneumonia (just like in humans). A young puppy or an older dog is more likely to get serious complications from the flu.
Easy To Get
With dogs, if it comes into contact with another dog that has the flu it’s almost certain the virus will spread to your pet. The virus can even live on objects like a dog toy or household furniture. It can even live on you for several minutes and then be transferred to an uninfected dog.
Certain breeds of dogs are also more susceptible to catching the flu virus. Dogs that have snouts that are short and sort of compacted – like bulldogs, pugs and others – can have a harder time with the flu because their breathing is already labored.
What To Do?
Just like when humans get the flu, the best advice is rest and lots of fluids. But dogs are not the best of patients so a trip to the vet might be in order. Just like with people the vet will treat dog flu with antibiotics if a bacterial infection presents itself in addition to the flue, something that is not uncommon. There is actually a vaccine for the dog flu, but it doesn’t prevent the disease it just makes it less severe (just like with people, again). A discussion with your vet will present a clearer picture of the best course to take.
If it’s apparent that your dog has the flu, you should keep it away from other animals. Two or three weeks of isolation is usually sufficient for the flu to pass.