Canine influenza is a viral disease of dogs. You may have read reports about this in the news. Luckily, there are some easy ways you can prevent your dog from getting this disease (and other viruses).
FOR A QUICK OVERVIEW, HERE ARE 5 EASY WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR DOG:
1. Know more about how this virus is spread to your dog
2. Get your dog vaccinated against canine influenza
3. Stay away from areas where your dog will encounter other dogs
4. Learn more about whether canine influenza can spread to other species
5. Understand what it looks like if your dog may be infected with canine influenza
How is the disease spread? Canine influenza is spread to other dogs like human influenza virus is spread to other people–coughing, sneezing, and even indirectly through objects like leashes, food bowls and clothing that can carry the live virus (this virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours).
What about a vaccine for canine influenza? Like the human influenza virus changes every year, so can canine influenza. Therefore, currently available canine influenza vaccines may not be 100% protective. Regardless, they are likely to help your dog’s immune system fight against exposure to many strains of canine influenza. Talk to your veterinarian about what vaccines are recommended for your dogs.
How can you prevent your dog from getting exposed to canine influenza? One of the best ways to prevent the spread of canine influenza is to keep your dog away from other dogs. However, you may want to balance the risk of exposure versus your dog’s happiness. If your dog loves to have “playdates” with other dogs, be sure you know that your dog’s playmates are receiving the same kind of precautions you give your dog, like vaccines. Similarly, make sure that if your dog needs to go to dog day care or to a boarding facility, that the facility has stringent guidelines about vaccinations (plus disease testing for heartworm and parasite control).
Can canine influenza infect people or other pets? Luckily, canine influenza isn’t thought to be able to infect people and make them sick. However, it may make your cat sick.
What does it look like if your dog has canine influenza? Your dog may cough, have runny eyes or nose, be lazier than is typical for your dog, not want to eat all their food, and have a fever.
Finally, if you suspect your dog has been in contact with an infected dog or has the symptoms mentioned, then call or make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Canine influenza and other transmissible diseases of dogs and cats are constantly emerging and re-emerging. That’s why it’s so important that you and others take your pets to a veterinarian for vaccinations and parasite control, and keep on top of your pet’s health condition. Know what’s typical for your pet, and talk to your veterinarian about your lifestyle, your pet’s lifestyle, and how to best protect them given your special circumstances.