Hello, I am Dr. Mike, and I want to talk to you about dog flu-yes, just like people, dogs
can get the flu. It’s not caused by the same virus as human flu, but it’s flu nonetheless.
Caused by an H3N8 virus, it’s called canine influenza. Canine influenza was first seen in the United
States in 2004 after an outbreak of respiratory disease in racing Greyhounds in Florida. Since
then, canine influenza has spread to 30 states across the US. Dogs with canine influenza may have signs
such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose or eyes, and a fever. These signs may also be
seen with other respiratory diseases, so it’s best to call your veterinarian immediately
if you notice any of them. While usually causing uncomfortable but mild signs, this illness
can be potentially life-threatening. Like many respiratory diseases, canine influenza
is spread by sneezing or coughing and by direct contact with contaminated clothing or objects
such as food bowls and bedding. Canine influenza has the potential to spread rapidly through
shelters, boarding facilities, pet stores, doggy daycare centers, and even dog parks.
That’s because it’s caused by a new virus and dogs have no immunity against it, so every
dog exposed to the virus for the first time will become infected. Unfortunately, diagnosing canine influenza
can be difficult, and your veterinarian may need to run several tests to confirm that
your dog has the disease. Veterinarians may want to start dogs on treatment as soon as
possible while awaiting the results of diagnostic tests. IV fluids and antibiotics for secondary
bacterial infections are the usual treatments. Most cases of canine influenza are mild, but
up to 8% of dogs may develop pneumonia and die. Naturally we want to take steps to help protect
dogs from this disease. There is a vaccine for canine influenza that, just like human
flu shots, may not completely prevent the disease but will make it less likely. And
if a vaccinated dog does get the flu, the signs are likely to be milder. Ask your veterinarian or visit www.doginfluenza.com
for more information about canine influenza and how the vaccine might help. I hope that
this information has been useful to you and thanks for watching.