Dog owners everywhere have been alarmed at recent reports of a new type of flu that affects dogs. This flu seems to be causing dog lovers to keep their pets at home for fear of its consequences, but you should know the facts about dog flu before you take such drastic measures. Read on to learn more about the dog flu and the steps you can take to protect your furry friend.
What is the dog flu?
The actual name of this disease is H3N8, and was originally thought to only affect horses. Unfortunately, some diseases can "jump species" and the H3N8 has done just that. This disorder, also known as canine type A influenza, is very much like the flu virus in humans in the way that it affects the upper respiratory tract of the dog. It's important to note that the H3N8 flu cannot be contracted by humans-- only horses and dogs.
What are the symptoms and treatments?
Just like in humans with the flu, the symptoms include the usual runny nose, fever, low energy, cough, sneezing and lack of appetite. Some dogs show little to no symptoms, however. Your veterinarian can confirm a case of H3N8 with a simple blood test. If your puppy is affected, rest and plenty of fluids are in order. Antibiotics are not recommended unless a secondary infection is present.
Even though this dog disease seems to be similar to a human flu, veterinarians consider it to be slightly more serious than a simple upper respiratory tract infection, so if you suspect your dog may be affected, be sure to see your vet. Some dogs can develop pneumonia, which can be dangerous to puppies and older dogs. You should know that an H3N8 vaccine is available, but it will only lessen the symptoms and not prevent it entirely.
How does H3N8 virus spread?
Your puppy can pick up this virus from droplets in the air or contact with an object an infected dog touched. To be on the safe side, keep your pet away from other dogs and don't allow toys and bedding to come into contact with other dogs.
As you can see from the information above, it's not necessary to keep Fido confined to your home. Just be careful about him coming into contact with other dogs and horses and monitor him closely for signs of the virus. Talk to your veterinarian like one from Capitol Animal Clinic for more tips on avoiding exposure for your pet and how the H3N8 vaccine might help keep your puppy from becoming as sick if he does contract it.