Today we’re touching on a few things that the top Raleigh NC animal hospital wants you to know about the canine flu.
That’s right, we said canine flu.
You may not notice it in the news as much as you once did, but did you know that canine influenza is a year-round problem? Unlike human flu which thrives in November through March, your dog can come down with canine influenza any time of year! That’s why we thought it was important for you to know some of the key facts about canine influenza so that you can better protect your dog no matter what time of year it is!
Top Raleigh NC Animal Hospital Shares the Facts on Canine Influenza
Middle-Aged Dogs Are Most Commonly Affected By Canine Flu
Like many others, you may believe that puppies and senior dogs are most commonly affected by canine flu. In fact, according to DogFlu.com, middle-aged dogs are the most commonly afflicted by the highly contagious illness. That said, almost every dog is at risk of developing canine influenza and vaccination plays an important part in prevention as well as minimizing symptoms if your dog does contract “dog flu”.
Dogs with Canine Flu Are Still Potentially Contagious For Up To Three Weeks After the Onset of Symptoms
When you begin noticing symptoms of canine flu in your dog they may be contagious for as long as three weeks after those symptoms begin. That’s why as the top Raleigh NC animal hospital we always advise that you keep your dog safe at home for at least three weeks if they have been diagnosed with canine influenza. As such a contagious virus all it takes is your dog interacting with a single neighborhood dog for the virus to spread like wildfire!
Humans Can Not Be Infected with Canine Flu
…at least not that we know of. To date, there have been no cases of humans being infected with the canine strains of influenza, but the virus can be transmitted to other dogs through human contact! If you have multiple dogs at home, the chances are that if one of your dogs has dog flu, then the other dogs have already been exposed. Even so, it’s always advisable to thoroughly sanitize your hands after handling a dog with canine influenza and regularly wash bowls and toys that are used by infected dogs also.
Disinfecting Your Home is Important in Preventing the Spread of Canine Influenza
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the canine influenza virus has the potential to remain in the environment for around two days and survive on hands for as long as 12 hours and on clothing for up to 24 hours! It’s no wonder that the virus spreads so quickly through communities! You can reduce the risk of spreading canine influenza by being vigilant when it comes to disinfecting your home. Most household cleaners will eradicate the flu virus from surfaces in your home and regular hand washing will help to reduce the spread of the virus on your hands.
If Your Dog Regularly Attends Doggy Daycare or is Boarded Frequently, the Canine Influenza Vaccination is a Must!
Due to the fact that canine influenza is so contagious, it thrives in environments where dogs are present in groups. In these environments, it takes just one dog that has been exposed to the virus to spread it to every other dog in the facility! That’s why if your dog regularly takes part in group activities or is in the vicinity of numerous dogs (as in boarding or at a dog show), you must be proactive and vaccinate your dog!
There Are Multiple Strains of the Canine Flu Virus
At the moment there are two well-known strains of the canine influenza virus: H3N8 and H3N2.
H3N8 originates from horse flu and was first noted in Florida in 2004. This version of the flu virus can be shed by infected dogs for up to five days.
H3N2 originates from avian flu and was first seen in 2006 in both Korea and China. Unlike H3N8, the H3N2 strain of canine flu can be shed by infected dogs over a 24 day period.
The Symptoms of Canine Flu Are Similar to Human Flu
The symptoms seen in canine flu are not unlike those seen in human influenza and include coughing, fever, lethargy, runny nose with discharge that may change in consistency, and lost appetite. In some more severe cases, canine influenza may also present with pneumonia.
It’s important to consult with your veterinarian if you think that your dog may have contracted dog flu, but make sure to call ahead first. Remember, canine influenza is highly contagious and your vet may want to take special precautions to keep other dogs in their facility from being directly exposed to the virus.
Has Your Dog Had Their Canine Influenza Vaccination?
If your dog hasn’t had their canine influenza vaccination yet give us a call today at (919) 870-7000 and make an appointment for your pup ASAP! Canine influenza is a highly contagious illness and while vaccination can’t prevent it completely, it does reduce the chance that your dog will contract it and certainly reduces the symptoms that your dog will suffer if they do get sick.