What is the pet dog Flu and must you be worried?
The “dog flu” or canine influenza is going around in the Chicago area and of course spreading to nearby areas with a confirmed case in Madison, Wis.
My parents and their two dogs live in Wisconsin, so I’m curious if they must be concerned about the pet dog flu.
Most news stories are reporting there have been about 1,000 situations of pet dog flu in the Chicago area and 5 deaths.
OK, so is the pet dog flu anything to worry about?
My technique to nearly every health issue with dogs and people is to use common sense. pet dog flu is nothing to freak out over, even though the media love to use hysteria and fear.
Do your own research on pet dog flu and talk with your dog’s vet if you have any concerns. To help get you started, I’ve done a little research myself …
What is the pet dog flu?
Canine influenza is a virus that mostly affects the dog’s respiratory system and is highly contagious, according to PetMD.
Some infected dogs with have mild symptoms while others will have a lot more severe symptoms, but the most evident symptom will be a “moist” cough.
General symptoms, according to PetMD, could include:
The a lot more severe symptoms could include a high fever and cause pneumonia, according to PetMD.
My pet dog Ace was diagnosed with pneumonia in 2011. He was so sick we had to take him to the emergency clinic. No fun.
Are pet dog flu and kennel cough (bordetella) the same thing?
Dog flu is a virus.
Bordetella (kennel cough) is caused by the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica.
However, a lot of dog owners, vets and others use “kennel cough” to group together flu viruses and bacterial infections.
For the sake of this post, when I say kennel cough, I am referring specifically to bordetella.
Symptoms of the pet dog flu and kennel cough can be very similar, however a dog with the flu is a lot more likely to have a moist cough while a pet dog with kennel cough is likely to have a dry cough, according to PetMD.
Sometimes dogs infected with kennel cough also become infected with a flu virus, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance. This is another reason why they’re typically grouped together under “kennel cough.”
Will the kennel cough (bordetella) vaccine secure my pet dog from the pet dog flu?
The reason for this is because the intranasal bordetella vaccine normally consists of a strain of bordetella and a flu virus, according to VPI. because of this, it will secure your pet dog from some strains of dog flu.
The vaccine is called the bordetella vaccine because bordetella is the most common cause of upper respiratory infections in dogs, according to VPI.
How is pet dog flu treated?
Most dogs must recover from the pet dog flu on their own as it runs its course.
Sometimes a vet will prescribe antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection or if bronchitis or pneumonia have developed, according to VPI.
Remember, antibiotics won’t do anything for a virus.
For a lot of dogs, the best thing to do is supply them with rest and to keep them isolated from other dogs for a few weeks, if possible.
Common sense for stopping pet dog flu
I’m not anxious about my pet dog getting sick from the pet dog flu or bordetella. If he does, he does. He’ll get better with rest.
There are always dangers to consider anytime you bring your pet dog out in public. pet dog parks, training facilities and pet friendly stores are undoubtedly places where your pet dog is a lot more likely to catch the pet dog flu or bordetella.
In places like Chicago where there has been an increase in pet dog flu cases, use your best judgement before checking out pet dog parks and pet friendly stores.
If I lived in Chicago, I would probably keep my pet dog out of pet dog parks for a few weeks, but I would continue our normal walks throughout the neighborhood.
If your pet dog is very old or has a weakened immune system for various reasons, you may want to be a little a lot more cautious.
As for puppies, I believe it’s crucial to socialize, walk and train them even if there’s a small risk they’ll get sick. But, everyone has to make their own choices. (See my post must I walk my puppy before she’s had her shots?)
Let me know what you think, especially if you live in Chicago or other areas of the Midwest.
Are you concerned about the pet dog flu?
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