Two viruses — H3N8 and H3N2 — cause dog flu, according to the CDC.
New cases of dog flu have spread across several states and veterinarians are urging vigilance. Canine influenza is not fatal or transmitted to humans, but dog owners must know how to protect their pups and be alert at all times.
CNN reported this outbreak has been developing the last few months. In April, 1,000 cases of dog flu were reported in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest. As of June 25, the Atlanta area has had 55 confirmed cases. Other positive results were reported in Iowa, Indiana, and Massachusetts, according to Cornell University.
Lee Latham, an Atlanta resident whose dog Skyler contracted canine influenza earlier this month, warned, “It’s nothing to mess with, and it is expensive.”
Keeping Your Dog Safe
Dog owners living in or around the affected states should avoid dog parks, grooming spots and other areas where pets meet. Unfortunately, outbreaks occurring in kennels and shelters has lowered the dog adoption rates in some states.
“Be wary of public places,” said Meredith Millwood, a spokesperson for Atlanta Humane Society, “Dog parks are a gamble you’re taking with dogs you don’t know.”
What are the symptoms?
Canine influenza symptoms are similar to human flu symptoms. Animals cough, get a runny nose, are lethargic, lose appetite and have a high fever.
Some cases may be unnoticeable. William Campbell, the owner of Piedmont Bark, a doggy daycare facility in Atlanta, said, “The dog can carry the virus but not show any of the symptoms.”
Treatment or Fatal?
Veterinarians can test your pet for flu, but since canine influenza is a viral disease, there is not treatment other than supplements to boost their immune system. If a secondary bacterial infection is diagnosed, a veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics. Of course, medical treatment can be extremely expensive.
“It’s a financial burden, a big financial burden to the tune of about $1,000 a day. You’re willing to pay it. It’s your dog,” said Mikki Funderburke, after her dog, Tex, contracted dog flu.
Only a small percentage of dogs die and it usually happens when the sickness leads to devastating pneumonia.
Is there a vaccine?
According to the CDC, a vaccine is available only for H3N8 in the United States. Experts are unsure whether it can help prevent the newest strain, H3N2.
What are your thoughts on these recent dog flu outbreaks? Comment below and share your concerns.
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