Why Should Dog Owners Care About Canine Influenza?
Recently there has been an outbreak of Canine Influenza across the country and Michigan is no exception. Canine Influenza is a strain of the flu just like we as humans can come down with. As of this current moment there are no known cases of transmission between dogs and humans, but between dogs Influenza is highly contagious, easily spread, and in some situations lethal.
Symptoms of Canine Influenza include a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge, and a mid to high fever. The coughing is similar to kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Other signs of Canine Influenza can include eye discharge, lethargy, and a reduced appetite.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the infection can spread directly by respiratory secretions such as barking, coughing, or sneezing. It can also be spread by in-animate objects that have been in contact with the infected dog such as a food bowl or toy.
In the event of a dog being Influenza positive it should immediately be placed into quarantine and isolated away from other dogs. All areas where the dog(s) has been should be sterilized and, good hygiene practice through hand washing should be maintained in order to prevent further contamination. The virus typically will not survive more than 48 hours in the local environment and can be killed with most common disinfectants. Dogs should typically recover in two to three weeks but unfortunately in less than ten percent of cases it can be a fatal experience for the dog.
In order to prevent your dog from being at risk the best thing we can do is vaccinate them. The vaccine can be given by your local veterinarian by request and appointment. It is highly recommended for dogs with increased exposure to other dogs such as those who visit dog parks or stay at dog daycare boarding facilities.