Puppy Problems: What To Know About Dog Flu

Posted on: 19 April 2016

Recent news reports about a type of flu that affects dogs have alarmed dog-lovers everywhere. The illness seems to be sweeping through dog populations rapidly, causing illness and concern. You may have heard about this disease and are worried about allowing your dog to go out in public for fear of your pet contracting this flu. Read below for more information about this dog disease and how you can keep your dog from catching it.  

What is dog flu?

This disease, which is actually called H3N8, originally affected horses, but it appears to have "jumped" species and is affecting canines now. Also known as canine type A influenza, this disease affects dogs much the same way a flu or upper respiratory tract infection affects humans. It should be pointed out that this flu is not known to be contagious to humans at this time, just to dogs and horses.

Symptoms and treatments

Just as you would expect from a human case of the flu, the symptoms you might notice in your dog include a runny nose, cough, fever, lack of energy and low appetite. It should be pointed out that it is possible for your pet to be infected with this flu and show few or no symptoms at all. If you are suspicious of an infection, have your vet run a test. Antibiotic treatment is not usually given for this flu unless your pet has developed a secondary infection. The best treatment for a case without complications is simple: rest and plenty of fluids.

While the presence of H3N8 may not produce any symptoms at all for some dogs, the disease is considered to be a little more serious than most upper respiratory tract infections. You can expect your pet to recover completely in a few weeks. Occasionally, a dog will go on to develop Pneumonia. Older dogs and puppies are particularly susceptible to this complication.  

How does H3N8 spread?

This disease is spread through droplets in the air and from direct contact with an infected dog or an object the infected dog touched. Don't allow your dog to come close to other dogs or share toys or bedding with them. You can have your vet vaccinate your dog for this flu, but the vaccination won't prevent the disease; it will simply lessen the severity.

It's only understandable that you are concerned about your faithful companion's health. This flu can be well-controlled using common sense when you are out and about with Fido and by keeping him, at least temporarily, away from other animals. If you are concerned about your dog, contact a local veterinarian (such as one from Apple Valley Animal Hospital) and discuss the H3N8 flu and what steps to take to ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy.