Canine influenza presents much like the flu in humans, sometimes with a fever but always coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose, and is communicated by touch and in the air by coughing and sneezing. This virus is designated as influenza and not simply “flu” — it’s from a special strain known as H3N8, and acute respiratory infection results. H3N8 is also part of the cocktail of viruses and bacteria that cause “kennel cough.”
Even if your dog has not been on play-dates or at the dog park, they can still get canine influenza. You can transmit the virus to your dog simply by petting another dog — your hand as the carrier. This is not something you can diagnose from visiting internet sites. It could be a general flu or it could be this highly contagious strain and it takes some particular testing to diagnose.
You should note that canine influenza is not seasonal, like the human flu, and can be contracted year-round.
It’s winter in many places, and that can mean much less outdoor activities. You may at first think your dog’s lack of energy or interest is only the boredom that comes from being stuck inside, but you can help them feel better faster by making an appointment with your vet. Secondary infections can arise that lead to pneumonia — a vet examine can stop a bad situation from getting much worse.
Listen to Steve Dale talk to Dr Leah Cohn about who’s at risk!
(Source for written material: Dr. Cynda Crawford, clinical asst. professor, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, U of Florida, Gainsville)