IMG_0572aDogs have their own strain of influenza called “canine influenza”  this flu differs from the human seasonal flu and h1n1.  The dog flu first started in 2004 in racing greyhounds in Florida.  It has since been found in other states including New York, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.  The canine influenza looks a lot like kennel cough in affected dogs and may include symptoms like coughing, nasal discharge, pneumonia and fever.  Most of the time this flu goes away on its own with time (veterinarians call this a self limiting disease).  In some cases, affected dogs need treatments with antibiotics for secondary infections, fluid therapy and other supportive care measures and in more severe cases possibly even antiviral medications.  Currently there is a vaccine available for canine influenza and it may be recommended for dogs where exposure is likely.  These include, dogs that go to boarding facilities (especially in cases of outbreaks), and for dogs who are exposed to many other dogs in breeding facilities and show rings.  Your veterinarian can tell you if he or she recommends this vaccine for your dog.  Currently, I would only vaccinate high risk dogs for this flu.

You can feel comforted that even if the rest of your family contracts the seasonal or h1n1 flu this season, your dog will be there healthy, happy and waiting for you to recover!

Link to article regarding canine influenza:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/accesforpethealth/archives/181377.asp?from=blog_last3

Link to Syracuse Post article regarding canine influenza:

http://blog.syracuse.com/healthfitness/2009/10/now_is_flu_season_for_people_-.html

Fox 8 Cleveland News clip:

http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-dog-flu-txt,0,2764741.story

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