Influenza in dogs is a disease that has affected an increasing number of dogs over the years. Although most cases of influenza in dogs are not fatal, owners should be alert to any possible symptoms.
Canine flu can make our dogs go through some very uncomfortable and sad days. If you own a dog you should not be scared by the flu in dogs, because with the right precautions it can be avoided.
Also known as dog flu, lCanine flu is a virus similar to human influenza. This is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of influenza A virus, from which the most common human flu is also derived.
There are two types of dog flu known so far: H3N8 and H3N2. The H3N8 variety is originally an equine virus that, around 2008, mutated and jumped from horses to dogs. The first cases of this flu in dogs occurred in a group of racing greyhounds. Greyhounds competed on the same tracks as horses and contagion was easy among the animals.
The H3N2 influenza strain is native to Asia. Some studies indicate that this variety was a bird virus that mutated and was spread to dogs. Between the years 2015 and 2017 the H3N2 virus was the most common among dogs affected by influenza.
How do you get flu in dogs?
Like the flu in humans, the flu in dogs is spread through the air: Respiratory secretions found in the environment can infect other subjects. In the particular case of dogs, any sneeze or cough will expel secretions into the air.
If a dog is infected, every time you bark the virus will enter the environment. Once the virus is in the air, healthy dogs that breathe it will be at risk of being infected.
Flu in dogs can also be spread through the contact of a healthy dog with contaminated objects. Toys, dishes, water containers, beds and cushions can be reservoirs of flu.
The areas of common use, where many dogs interact with each other, can also be incubation zones. Play parks and dog nurseries are ideal places for this virus to expand.
Close contact with large groups of dogs means that your dog is at risk of catching any disease. For this reason, an owner must be very attentive to the symptoms that their dogs may present.
The incubation period of canine influenza is two to four days from the first exposure to the virus. Thus, the first symptoms usually appear after the fourth day. But nevertheless, dogs with influenza are contagious from the second day of infection, long before showing any symptoms.
Dogs that have contracted the H3N8 virus are contagious to other dogs around 10 days from the first symptoms. On the other hand, dogs with H3N2 flu are contagious for up to 26 days after the first symptoms. For this reason, most veterinarians recommend the isolation of dogs with flu symptoms.
Symptoms of canine influenza
There are several symptoms related to the canine influenza virus. Unlike flu in humans, canine influenza is not more frequent in a single season of the year. Influenza in dogs can occur at any time, with heat or cold. For this reason, owners must be very attentive to the appearance of symptoms.
Most dogs that get the flu virus have fever and cough for two or three weeks, and this can be wet or dry. Other early symptoms of influenza are lack of appetite and respiratory distress.
The first flu symptoms in dogs are similar to the symptoms of flu in young children: dogs feel tired and sleep more than usual. Further, dogs with flu have runny noses, watery eyes, and runny noses with a little pus.
Treatment of influenza in dogs
The treatment of influenza in dogs is symptomatic, sothere is no cure for the flu, only remedies that relieve symptoms. As the days go by, the dog's organism will process and eliminate the disease on its own.
However, canine flu does need veterinary attention. A professional will tell you if your dog needs special care, such as intravenous hydration or antibiotics.
In some cases, dogs must change their diet to stay nourished while the flu is over, butThe most important thing is to keep the affected dog hydrated and comfortable. It is necessary to disinfect the areas in which the dog lives. This practice will prevent the flu from lasting longer than is strictly necessary.