Veterinary experts are warning pet owners that a rare epidemic of 'Canine Influenza' is making the rounds. That's why we want to keep your four-legged friend feeling good and perky!
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, canine influenza, aka dog flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs.
The first recognized outbreak of this dog flu in the world was discovered in racing greyhounds at a track in Florida in 2004. Other outbreaks were spotted at tracks and became more widespread over time in states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Texas, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
By May of 2015, thousands of dogs across the U.S. have been confirmed positive for H3N2 canine influenza that originated in Korea, China, and Thailand. That strain was first detected in April of 2015 in Chicago, the AVMA says. Since then, the dog flu has spread in the Chicago and has sickened more than 1,000 dogs and caused the deaths of five, dogtime.com reports.
There have been 2 canine deaths confirmed in North Carolina over the past month, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports.
The canine flu has been reported in at least 40 states and Washington, DC, the AVMA says. Despite these outbreaks, the fatality rate is pretty low and most dogs recover quickly with proper treatment.
Some dogs experience no illness, others suffer from severe infections.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Lack of energy
- Reduce appetite
- Discharge from eyes/nose
- More serious, high fevers starting at 104 degrees and pneumonia
If your fur baby starts showing any flu signs, take him to your vet as soon as possible for treatment and care.
Protect your pet from the flu by taking the following precautions:
- Keep your furry friend away from dog parks and kennels where they could come in contact with infected pups. Keep in mind, the flu isn't always noticeable with other dogs since they can be contagious without showing any signs of illness.
- Vaccinate your dog.
- If you come in contact with other dogs, wash your hands with soap and water and wash your clothes or anything that may have touched another dog. Do this as soon as you get home.
- Learn the ins and outs of the dog flu. Get educated on how your dog can catch it, preventative measures and what to do if your dog has symptoms.
- Communicate with your veterinarian or another animal expert if you have any questions or concerns.
Sarah Francis is a half-Palestinian journalism junkie, a proud Charlotte, NC native with an oversized sweet tooth, and an active world traveler. Ask her where she's headed next. (@Sarah_Francis25)