The Canine Influenza Virus

Believe it or not there is even a strain of the influenza virus that affects “man’s best friend”. The Canine Influenza virus, or the dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by the type A influenza virus. But be assured, this is a virus that only affect a dog, and not humans.

The Canine Influenza is a H3N8 virus, that was originally found in horses, and had slowly migrated to dogs, and in fact is very easily transmitted from dog to dog.

The H3N8 virus has been known to infect horses for over forty years, it wasn’t until 2004 did the virus start to appear in dogs.

Scientists believed that it jumped from horses to dogs, because of their close contact as well as their weaker immune systems. The H3N8 virus is now considered a do-specific virus. It is very harmful to your dog. And because the dog constantly uses its mouth to transport their toys, etc. it is very highly contractible among dogs. If your dog, or a dog you know has the Dog Flu it is essential that you try your best to isolate your dog as best as you can.

The symptoms in dogs are very similar to that of humans. Your dog may experience a fever, runny nose, and has the potential to develop into a serious and life threatening disease.

Same dogs contract this virus like very few symptoms, therefore it is highly undetected at first, but it is essential for you as their owner to bring him to a veterinarian as you notice any changes in attitude of you dog.

Because it is fairly new, the symptoms your dog will experience will be fairly mild, but if it is not taken care of your dog can potentially encounter further health complications.

The Dog Flu is spread much the same as a human would spread a virus. The respiratory secretions of your dog will have the greatest number of contaminated virus causing bacteria. So just as humans share objects, so too does your dog, but his are all covered in his secretions, thus it is much more possible for your dog to contract the dog flu from another dog. And be sure you protect yourself from contracting the virus as well, if you come in close contact with a dog that has the symptoms of the dog flu, it is important that you take the proper precautions as well.

There is good news. If you are unsure about whether your dog has contracted the virus, there are tests that can give you a positive reading of the virus. At the first signs of your dog having the flu, bring him to your veterinarian who can test him for the dog flu.

Treatment for your sick dog has a lot to do with your supportive care. This will help your dog mount an immune response . In most cases your dog can get a prescription that will make your dog more comfortable . It is also imperative that your dog is well hydrated, and as the owner, it is your responsibility to make sure he or she does.

To date, there is no evidence of dogs transferring the virus to humans, and vice versa. However the virus is highly contagious among dogs.

So if your dog has changed in demeanor or has developed any of the symptoms associated with the dog flu, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have him checked out.