Health Care

More Canine Flu Confirmed

More Canine Flu Confirmed”

Health unit officials say canine influenza virus is of concern because it is highly transmissible between dogs, particularly in areas (such as Canada) where dogs do not have natural immunity from previous infection and where canine influenza vaccination is rare.

Earlier this week, H3N2 canine influenza was identified in two dogs in Essex County. According to reports, it is in 46 states.

What are the symptoms of dog flu that I need to look for? If a dog catches it, they will feel exhausted, will cough and even have a runny nose.

She added, if left untreated, it could lead to pneumonia and in very rare cases death.

Weese says the two dogs that are infected are being kept away from other dogs to stop the influenza from spreading.

"It was a dog that was in a boarding situation", she said.

At this time, there is no known risk to humans, and canine flu has never before been found in humans unlike swine and avian flu. Respiratory disease that is indistinguishable from other infectious respiratory diseases (canine infectious respiratory disease complex, also known as "kennel cough") usually occurs, although serious (including fatal) infections and/or complications can develop.

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"The fact that there are a lot of cases (of canine flu) in the USA, and this hasn't been identified gives us some reassurance that (a new flu) is a potential concern but we aren't going to panic about it by any means", he said.

How can I protect my dog from getting sick?

The problem, says Weese, is there is not a lot of vaccine coverage in dogs in Canada because we haven't had the virus here.

As mentioned, it doesn't appear that humans can contract dog flu.

If you are really concerned or travelling to parts where canine flu is common (U.S. or Asia), get a flu shot. But one concern flu experts have is with something called "reassortment", meaning the mixing together of human and dog flus.

That could happen if a dog infected with canine flu also contracted a human flu, and the two strains combined to create a new virus that was capable of infecting humans.

"It's really unlikely to happen, but because it's possible, that's why we pay attention to it", he said.

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