Dog Flu Outbreak in Midwest


sick dogYou know how miserable you feel when you have the flu. Now imagine that the only way you can communicate how you feel is by lying on the floor and maybe whimpering a bit.

When our dogs or cats don’t feel well, often the only way we know it is by their loss of interest in normal activities such as eating, going for a walk or getting a belly rub. Recently, a large number of dogs have been in exactly that situation as an outbreak of dog flu hit the Midwest. According to news sources, more than 1,000 dogs in the Chicago area and Minnesota have been diagnosed with canine influenza.

H3N8 and H3N2 are the two viruses which cause dog flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease only affects animals.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • It is not transmitted to humans.
  • Keep dogs away from dog parks and kennels if possible as a temporary measure.
  • Symptoms include a cough, runny nose, lethargy, lack of appetite and fever.
  • There is a vaccine for H3N8 but not for H3N2.

Just as with humans, the only treatment at this time is to treat any secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia. Dog flu is rarely fatal, although treating complications can be costly. Talk to your vet about vaccinations during your veterinary wellness visit.

Source: CNN, “What you need to know about the dog flu outbreak,” Faith Karimi and Eli Watkins, July 3, 2015

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