Canine Influenza

Canine influenza is a new kind of virus that causes a respiratory infection in all kinds of dogs. It was first found in racing greyhound and then found in some house dogs in California. This influenza virus was originally a horse virus and then spread to dogs. The most common sign of this virus is a cough. However, many dogs never develop any signs of having any kinds of illness. Some dogs will develop a fever and respiratory problems.

This influenza is not able to afflict humans and it can be spread between dogs. This virus has existed in horses for over forty years and has only existed in dogs since 2004. Most of the dogs that get this infection do not die and almost all dogs can get this disease. Eighty percent of dogs will get a mild form of this disease. Most of the time this is not a serious disease but it can be transmitted to other dogs that are in close contact with one another.

There is a vaccine for canine influenza, but it may not be worth it for those who only have one dog that doesn’t come into contact with other dogs very often. Those who have multiple dogs or a dog who frequently comes in contact with other dogs, it may be worth it to keep the dog from spreading influenza or from catching it from the other dogs that it spends time around. The main problems that this can cause when a dog gets the flu are respiratory problems and the dog can develop other flu symptoms like a fever.

The canine influenza can be spread from one dog to another by direct contact or from the bodily fluids of the dogs. It can be spread by a dog coming into contact with items that have been infected. There is a test that will confirm that a dog has been infected. Protecting dogs against canine influenza can be done by separating them from other dogs as soon as the infection or the coughing has been noticed. The dog should be removed from around other dogs and everything that the dog has come in contact with should be thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial solution.

Keeping dogs safe and healthy is important, but many dogs will end up getting some form of canine influenza within their lifetime. Most of the time this disease isn’t a big problem, but it can be fatal in a very small percentage of dogs. Those who have a lot of dogs in close contact should probably have their dogs vaccinated against canine influenza.

Sources:

http://www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/canine_guidelines.asp

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/canine/

http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts_waddl/dx/K9Influenza.aspx