As the flu continues to interrupt the daily routines of many people across the United States, you may be surprised to know that we are not the only ones suffering from the effects of the flu. You may also be surprised to know that man’s best friend is just as capable of contracting an equivalent of the flu called canine influenza. Luckily for both people and pets, we cannot transmit either virus to one another.
Unfortunately, for dogs, however, they are capable of spreading it to other dogs if the proper preventative measures are not taken. Just like the influenza virus in humans, canine influenza is also an infectious respiratory disease that can cause great discomfort for your pampered pooches. The original strain of canine influenza originated from horses before eventually being transmitted to dogs sometime around 2004. Just like for us, the flu for dogs is just as contagious with roughly 80% of dogs who come into contact with an infected dog becoming infected.
While some dogs are good at hiding their discomfort, Accumed is here to tell you 5 of the most common signs of canine influenza in dogs. Unsurprisingly, the symptoms of canine influenza are very similar to the human version of the disease.
Coughing is a large sign that something might be going on with your canine companion. For those that may be familiar with kennel cough, you may notice that many of the respiratory issues affiliated with it are quite similar to the canine influenza virus. These coughs may sound like your dog is hacking or choking on something. To give you an indicator, dogs who have contracted kennel cough can occasionally share some of the symptoms associated with canine influenza.
If your dog is experiencing a change in disposition and exhibits a sudden loss of energy, they may be lethargic. Lethargic dogs may appear depressed or seem overly fatigued. It is incredibly important to keep tabs on your dog’s appetite which is another indicator that something may not be right.
Dogs, much like humans, are also capable of developing a fever. The average body temperature for a dog should be around 101°F-102°F, whereas a human’s normal body temperature is roughly around 98.6°F.
4. Nasal Discharge
A dog that is experiencing nasal discharge or exhibits a runny nose should bring slight cause for concern, especially if there has been a recent outbreak of canine influenza in your area.
5. Breathing Difficulty
Signs that your dog may be having difficulty with breathing would be constant coughing, a significant change in their bark, constant panting, breathing through their abdomen (belly-heaving) or stretching their neck out in an attempt to breathe more easily. Should your dog appear as though they may be having difficulty breathing (especially for prolonged periods of time), you should immediately consult with your dog’s veternarian.
Much like the human variation of influenza, canine influenza is distributed through the air. It’s entirely possible, especially for dogs who have not been vaccinated, to catch the virus just from simply playing with other dogs at the park. This is still the case if the dogs are using contaminated objects such as toys, blankets, beds, water and food bowls. It is also equally likely for dogs who live outside to catch it from infected neighboring dogs. Luckily, the mortality rate for dogs infected with canine influenza is relatively low at approximately 10%.
Deaths typically occur in dogs who have contracted very severe forms of the virus. If you have reason to believe that your dog has been exposed to the canine influenza virus, has been infected or you’re concerned for their overall well-being please consult with your dog’s veterinarian.