A Dangerous Type of Canine Flue: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Dog
Did you know that back in 2015 a dangerous new type of canine flu was discovered? At that time more than 1,000 dogs became infected with this new type of flu.
This new flu, named H3N2 is an Asian strain that most probably transported its way to North America when an infected dog was shipped from Korea. First appearing in the U.S. Midwest, this strain of flu is very hard to contain as no dogs in America have an immunity to this virus.
An Asian Flu with No Vaccine
Those in the veterinary medical field say that they have not seen this strain of influenza in the U.S. before and are having a hell of a time battling it. Almost every dog that becomes exposed to this new virus will become infected.
Currently the most common canine flu is the H3N8 influenza virus which has inflicted dogs since 2004. Luckily there is a vaccine for this strain but not for the new H3N2 virus.
Because there is no vaccine for the new strain it has a propensity to spread quickly from dog to dog.
Some veterinarians have tried using the H3N8 vaccine to combat this new strain of flu but they have had no success.
The Best Medicine Is Prevention
The best thing that pet owners can do is to prevent their dogs from contracting the infection. The highly contagious virus is usually passed among dogs who are interacting in the same space, such as at doggy day care centers, training classes, groomers, boarding kennels and dog parks.
Dog owners are currently urged to refrain from bringing their dog into areas where there are dogs interacting with each other. Even though there may not be any reports of dogs contracting the flu in your area, it is still wise to take precautions when taking your dog to social events for canines.
Veterinarians are hoping that the virus will die out if pet owners refrain from going to places where dogs congregate and interact.
The good news, veterinarians say, is that neither of the canine flu strains are a big risk to dogs who generally stay home or just go for walks around their neighborhood.
Also keep in mind that most flu viruses can be spread on clothing and other items that a sick dog has been in contact with. For more information on this flu read the article "Canine Influenza" from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Symptoms of the H3N2 Flu
The symptoms for H3N2 are like those of H3N8. They include lots of coughing, sneezing and a runny nose. There are reports that many dogs infected by the H3N2 strain develop pneumonia, but it is not known if this virus causes more pneumonia than the H3N8 virus.
If you suspect that your dog has the canine flu, call your veterinarian before heading over to the clinic. You do not want to place other dogs at risk. The veterinarian will probably make special arrangements for you to bring your dog in after hours.
You must also isolate your dog to protect other dogs from catching the flu. And if you intend to travel it is best to contact your veterinarian to find out is the area you are traveling to has any current cases of canine flu reported.
And remember, the canine flu has no season as the human flu does. This is a disease that your dog can contract at any time of the year.
Also, if your dog shows any signs of respiratory illness you should have him tested for influenza. It is impossible to tell what kind of infection a dog has when they have a respiratory illness. Only a clinical test can determine whether it is canine flue or not.
Also note that dogs with very short noses (such as Pugs, Pekingese, and Boston Terriers) often struggle more with any respiratory illness and may be monitored more closely.
First and foremost, follow your veterinarian's plan of treatment. Your veterinarian will inform you that dogs who are diagnosed with canine influenza need to rest, maintain their fluid and food intake, and remain isolated from other dogs until they are no longer infectious. This may take up to 14 days and sometime longer.
You will mostly likely have to give your dog antibiotics to avoid the onset of a secondary bacterial infection. This is because dogs with canine flu are more at risk of developing pneumonia which can lead to death if not treated promptly.
The good news for dog owners is that most dogs recover after a couple of weeks without any complications.
And if you live in an area where cases have been reported, you must take extra precautions. The canine flu can be present in a dog's system for several days before the dog shows any signs of illness.
Basically, as a pet owner, it is best to avoid situations that may put your dog at risk of infection.