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Protecting Your Dog with Canine Flu Vaccinations

Flu season is upon us, and that goes for your dog, too. In 2004, a canine disease, Influenza Type A (H3N8) came on the scene in Florida. Dangerous to some dogs, seemingly harmless to others, it has been rapidly spreading ever since. So, what exactly is it and do vaccinations help protect dogs against it?

dog getting vaccination by vet

What is Dog Flu?

Dog flu is an extremely contagious virus spread by respiratory secretions. The virus can live for up to 48 hours, and can be spread from contaminated things such as food and water bowls, toys, leashes, bedding and by nose-to-nose sniffing and playing. Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs – dog parks, boarding, playgroups – are particularly susceptible to picking up this virus. The good news is, the illness is rarely fatal.

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Flu?

Canine flu is often mistaken for kennel cough, so it is best to see the vet for a proper diagnosis. If your dog contracts the flu, you may see any of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Discharge from the nose
  • Fever
  • Mucous-like eye discharge
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue

What Are the Symptoms of Serious Cases?

Just as any “mild” human or canine illness, there are always those cases that become serious. A severe case of canine flu can result in fever of over 104 degrees, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, perhaps even resulting in bacterial pneumonia.

How You Can Prevent Dog Flu

Socializing your dog is a good thing, but if the flu is in your area, it’s time to switch into prevention mode. Here’s what you should do:

  • Is your dog coughing and sniffling? It’s time to keep him or her home and away from other dogs until all symptoms have abated.
  • Have you used boarding or daycare facility despite the possibility of dog flu being around? Call the facility, ask if they’ve had any cases and see how they have or would handle a case.
  • Has your pet not had the flu vaccination? Come and talk to our vet and see what the options are for you and your pet.

What Treatments Are Available for Dog Flu?

We prescribe cough suppressants for dogs that have a mild flu form. Sometimes the vet may also add antibiotics for secondary infections. Staying away from other dogs and rest is also important.

More aggressive treatment is needed for severe forms of the illness, including antibiotics, fluids, and perhaps hospitalization.

Canine Flu Vaccination

Vaccinations are the bedrock of good health for all our furry friends. They protect them from a host of very dangerous and even deadly diseases by building the pet’s immunity. Dog flu is a virus not seen until recently, which means dogs have none of the even slight immunity normally passed on by their mothers.

Research shows that vaccinated dogs may still contract the illness, but in a much less virulent form. He or she is also less likely to pass it on to other dogs.

See if the Dog Flu Vaccination is Right for Your Pet

We advise our clients to view canine flu much the same as human flu and to make an appointment to discuss whether the flu vaccination is right for your dog. Give us a call today at 270-781-5041and be sure to ask about our new client special.  

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