If you live in the Midwest area, you’ve probably read or heard about the recent canine influenza outbreak, but are you doing enough to protect your dog from this potentially fatal virus? Also known as dog flu, this highly contagious infection has affected thousands of dogs all over the country, with hundreds of cases reported within just the past year. The good news is that we can help prevent this virus for your canine companion with the canine influenza vaccine, available here at Edmond East Animal Hospital, OK.
What Exactly IS Dog Flu?
Dog flu is a respiratory infection that’s caused from either the H3N8 strain or the H3N2 strain. The latter strain—which was originally found only in Asia—became the newest strain in the United States when an outbreak started in Chicago in March 2015. This strain can be transmitted from dog to dog via direct contact (saliva, etc.), contact with contaminated objects, or through the air (coughing, sneezing, etc.). It’s important to keep this in mind if you plan to bring your dog to an area where other dogs are present, such as a park, boarding facility, or dog daycare. Fortunately, most cases of canine influenza are mild, but up to 20% of dogs that are infected with the virus show moderate to severe symptoms, which are listed below.
Common Symptoms of Dog Flu
- Nose or eye discharge
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your dog, please contact Edmond East Animal Hospital immediately to have your dog tested for canine influenza.
How to Protect Your Dog from Dog Flu
To protect your dog from dog flu, our hospital carries the canine influenza vaccine. The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies, so if a dog is ever exposed to the real virus, its body will be prepared to fight it off. You can also help protect your dog by simply remembering to thoroughly wash and/or disinfect your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer) after coming in contact with other dogs.
If you’d like to learn more about canine influenza (dog flu) or to schedule an appointment to have your dog vaccinated, give us a call at 405-701-9000.