What is canine flu?

Canine flu is a contagious viral disease that can spread quickly among dogs. It affects a dog's respiratory system and may cause serious illness. In the US, outbreaks of canine flu were first reported in 2004 and the virus has since spread across the country.

Why do dogs get canine flu?

Dogs have no natural immunity from the flu virus and dogs of any age or breed can get the disease. Similar to human flu, it is contagious and is usually spread when dogs come into contact with infected dogs in places such as dog parks, at dog shows, boarding kennels, grooming facilities, veterinary hospitals and humane shelters.

What are the signs of canine flu?

It is important to know and recognize the signs of infection both in your dog and in other dogs that your dog may come into contact with. Most cases of canine flu are mild and include signs such as:

  • A persistent cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of energy

Some dogs may develop a more severe disease, which could develop into pneumonia. If you notice any of these signs, it is important that you contact your veterinarian.

Is your dog at risk?

All dogs can get canine flu and are at risk of exposure to the flu virus, especially in places where dogs gather.

Does your dog go to:

  • Dog parks
  • Dog day care
  • Boarding kennels
  • Grooming facilities
  • Dog shows or events

If you checked any of the above, it is important that you take steps to help protect your dog from canine flu. Talk to your veterinarian about available preventative options such as vaccination.

How does canine flu spread?

  • Through contact with infected dogs
  • - Dogs that do not show signs of canine flu can still spread the virus to other dogs
  • Airborne exposure
  • - Coughing
  • - Sneezing
  • - Runny nose
  • Contact with contaminated items
  • - Food and water bowls
  • - Toys

Prevention is the best protection

Just as you take steps to protect yourself from the flu every year, it is also important to help protect your dog

Vaccines for canine flu have recently been developed to help protect dogs against this newly emerging desease.

Vaccinating against canine flu can be beneficial by

  • Helping prevent infection
  • Reducing the spread of infection
  • Reducing common symptoms
  • Reducing the risk of developing more severe disease, such as pneumonia
Talk to your veterinarian for more information about this and other preventable canine diseases.

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