Can my dog get swine flu?
Swine flu news is everywhere these days. It’s constantly in the news and honestly who knows what to believe. Concern for our children, the elderly, and ourselves makes us want to educate ourselves about this pandemic. A question that has come up recently is what’s wrong with my dog. Can animals get swine flu?
Well the answer is no when it comes to H1N1 or swine flu. However, dog flu exists and can be deadly if not treated early. A highly contagious new respiratory virus thought to affect only the greyhound racing industry is now being detected in family dogs. Dog flu was first discovered a few years ago after an unusual illness began showing up at greyhound racetracks in Florida. The canine influenza virus is a type of H3N8 influenza that may have mutated from an equine influenza strain.
Edward Dubovi, of Cornell University’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center in Ithaca, N.Y., said serum samples from several suspected outbreak cases are coming to his lab for testing. Cornell virologists, working with researchers from the CDC and the University of Florida, determined that the sick greyhounds had a type of influenza normally only found in horses.
The dog flu virus is too new for dogs to have developed natural immunity, so any exposed dog will become infected and about 80 percent of infected dogs will develop symptoms of illness. However, it is very treatable and only 10 percent of untreated dogs die. Veterinarians sometimes diagnose this as kennel cough, canine bronchitis, or as a result of allergies. The flu strain cannot be treated with the bordetella vaccine, which is administered twice a year by your veterinarian. However, a vaccine for dog flu is currently being developed.
Virtually 100 percent of exposed dogs become infected, the researchers said. The virus is spread from dog to dog through coughing, contaminated objects, and even people. Like most influenza viruses, canine influenza can be spread through the air as well as by contact, and dog populations most at risk are those in shelters, kennels, boarding operations, or similar settings where large numbers of dogs are confined or housed. in a relatively closed space. It can also be spread by dogs that frequent dog parks or play with another dog’s toys or water bowl. Always clean your dog’s water dish daily and wash his toys frequently if possible.
Symptoms to watch out for are constant coughing and sneezing, fever and runny nose, as well as a sudden change in activity level, especially if your normally active dog begins to show signs of lethargy. The other problem that comes with canine influenza that is not a sign of kennel cough is high fever and congestion. If your dog shows signs similar to these, take him to your vet as soon as possible.
If your dog contracts the virus, don’t panic. As in humans, it is a treatable disease and will not usually have long-term effects. Typical treatment for infected dogs is supportive care to help the dog’s immune system fight off the disease, with antibiotics often prescribed to treat secondary bacterial infections. Provide your dog with plenty of fluids, rest, and a healthy dog food.
Ask your veterinarian about the latest news on canine influenza.