Health Care

'Intense flare-ups' of dog flu reported, infection can be deadly

'Intense flare-ups' of dog flu reported, infection can be deadly”

Vets say the flu isn't what pet owners need to worry about.

Some pet owners around the state have become reluctant to take their furry friends to the dog park because of awful flu season this year.

It's passed between dogs through barking, sneezing and coughing.

This is because H3N8 hasn't been confirmed in our area but it has in others.

But right now in this area vets say the Parvovirus is more of a threat.

What's more, "almost all dogs exposed to the virus will become infected", although most cases will be mild, Topper said.

So what are the signs a dog has the flu? It was first diagnosed in 2004 and isn't related to human flu. So, rapid spread can happen at any time of year.

In 2017, two dog shows spread the flu to almost 300 dogs in Georgia and Florida, according to Dumont.

"They get it from other dogs its shed in their feces and overcrowding situations are more at risk", said Small. Cats cannot catch the virus from another feline, but they can contract it through exposure in other ways.

SOURCES: Amy Glaser, D.V.M., Ph.D., director, Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Ithaca, N.Y.; Michael Topper, D.V.M., president, American Veterinary Medical Association, Schaumburg, Ill.

Dog flu or canine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that packs numerous same nasty symptoms as human flu: fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and exhaustion. So, in these areas where the flu is spreading, pet owners should keep an eye out for symptoms, and talk to their vet about whether the dog should be vaccinated. In fact, both strains of dog flu in the USA have a vaccine - which lowers a dog's risk of getting sick and helps a pup get through the flu if it gets infected. "For most dogs, the illness is mild, and they recover in two to three weeks", he added.

While many dogs may not contract the flu, recognizing the signs early will help ensure the health and safety of the family pet.

Canine flu can not be spread to people, but human owners should still take precautions not to accidentally expose their pets. He added that veterinarians are not entirely sure how effective the treatment is for those who opt to get it. "I guess it depends on the individual, just like people", he said. "The flu vaccine is going to minimize the length and severity of the virus".

Puppies and older dogs would be more susceptible to the flu if an outbreak were to occur in Virginia because they are the most physically vulnerable. "It's out there, I want to emphasize get your puppies vaccinated".

Glaser advises keeping flu-ridden dogs separated from other dogs for 21 days.

Southside Daily archives were used in this story.

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