What is Dog Flu?

You always make sure that your family is prepared for cold and flu season. You stock up on tissues, hand soap, cold medicine, and cough drops, and you take everyone to get their flu shots. But that doesn’t keep your entire family safe from the flu. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your Goldendoodle safe from dog flu.

What is dog flu?

Dog flu is the common name for canine influenza virus. It’s a Type A influenza viruses that causes respiratory infections in dogs, and is very contagious.

There are two different dog flu strains in the U.S.: H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 virus originated in horses before spreading to dogs and H3N2 originated in birds.

Dog flu symptoms include coughing, sneezing, congestion, discharge from the eyes or nose, fever, breathing problems, loss of appetite, and loss of energy. It’s possible for a dog to have dog flu without showing any symptoms, however.

Is dog flu fatal?

Canine influenza is rarely fatal. According to the American Kennel Club, less than 10% of dog influenza cases result in fatality. It can make your dog very sick, however.

Dogs typically recover in 2 to 3 weeks. Dogs with compromised immune systems may be at risk for secondary infections.

It’s important to schedule a visit with the vet as soon as you notice dog flu symptoms.

Can dog flu spread to humans?

The CDC states, “No human infections with canine influenza have ever been reported”. In other words, you won’t catch the dog flu from your Goldendoodle.

Influenza viruses change constantly, however. Both strains of dog flu originated in different animals. There have even been cases of flu viruses jumping from animals to people in the past: swine flu and bird flu.

While there’s never been an instance of canine influenza making a human sick, it’s wise to wash your hands thoroughly and often if your dog has canine influenza. This can also help prevent spreading dog flu to other dogs.

Is there a dog flu season?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, there is no dog flu season. People can expect cold and flu season from late fall to early spring, but dog flu outbreaks aren’t as regular and predictable as flu outbreaks in humans.

Your vet can tell you about dog flu outbreaks in your area.

Can you prevent dog flu?

There is a vaccine for dog flu. You can vaccinate against H3N8 and H3N2 viruses individually or together in a bivalent vaccine.

Understanding how dog flu spreads can also help prevent infection.

  • Flu virus spreads through droplets in the air. For your dog this means sneezing, coughing, barking, etc.
  • It also spreads through contaminated surfaces – floors, surfaces, water bowls, windows – anything that a dog with the flu comes in direct contact with.
  • Dog flu is common in crowded areas. This includes dog parks, veterinary offices, pet shelters, groomers, etc.

If your Goldendoodle gets sick with the flu, avoid taking her out in public. This will help keep other dogs safe. Talk to your dog’s vet about treatment.

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