What is it?
Canine influenza (also known as dog flu) is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by specific Type A influenza viruses known to infect dogs. These are called “canine influenza viruses.” No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported. There are two different influenza A dog flu viruses: one is an H3N8 virus and the other is an H3N2 virus. Canine influenza A(H3N2) viruses are different from seasonal influenza A(H3N2) viruses that spread annually in people.
How do dogs get the dog flu?
Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine flu infection, and virus infection tends to spread among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Canine flu is thought to spread mainly among dogs through respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing from infected dogs, or through contact with contaminated surfaces.
What will happen if my dog gets the dog flu?
The severity of illness associated with canine flu in dogs can range from no signs to severe illness resulting in pneumonia and sometimes death. Most dogs recover within 2 to 3 weeks. However, some dogs may develop secondary bacterial infections which may lead to more severe illness and pneumonia. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms year-round:
- Coughing (both moist and dry)
- Nasal discharge
- Purulent nasal discharge
- Runny eyes
- Difficulty breathing
There is no cure for dog flu. Your vet can advise you on the best ways to keep your dog comfortable during his illness and recovery.
How can I prevent my dog from getting the canine flu?
Since canine influenza is highly contagious, it’s important to take necessary precautionary steps to prevent it from spreading. One of the best ways to prevent the dog flu is with the canine influenza vaccine.