Featured image for post: What You Need To Know About Canine Influenza

What You Need To Know About Canine Influenza

Working with your regular veterinarian, we recommend protecting your pet against canine influenza with vaccinations. Also called the dog flu, canine influenza is a highly contagious and potentially deadly viral infection that has affected dogs in most U.S. states. Some dogs suffering from canine influenza do not exhibit any symptoms but still spread the virus to other dogs. Those that do become ill may develop a persistent cough, nasal and/or eye discharge, fever, lethargy, and reduced appetite. Some dogs can develop more serious secondary bacterial infections that lead to pneumonia. There have been two strains of dog flu identified—H3N8 and H3N2—and both can be prevented with a vaccine. More importantly, UrgentVet wants to educate you on this terrifying disease.

A quick note before we jump in – if your pet is experiencing issues with Vomiting and Diarrhea, please give us a call immediately.

More pets present to the vet ER for GI upset than any other illness. UrgentVet is uniquely qualified to manage the vast majority of these cases without expensive hospitalization. Our expert staff, comprehensive in-house laboratory, and digital x-ray determines the best course of treatment for each individual pet in less than an hour.

In most instances, we treat vomiting and diarrhea immediately and send your pet home with medications. When hospitalization or surgery is necessary, we refer you to a 24-hour specialty hospital with lab work and x-rays in hand, saving time and money. Our first concern is always what is best for you and your pet.

Back to canine influenza – this is what you need to know:

Signs of dog flu

Mild cases of dog flu will result in:

  • A cough that can last up to a month
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Increased eye and nasal discharge

Dogs that develop a more serious form of the infection might experience a high fever. The virus can also progress to pneumonia, which could lead to difficulty breathing and the need for supplemental oxygen and other medical support. A small percentage of dogs who get the flu will succumb to the virus.

Diagnosis and treatment of dog flu

If your dog is showing signs of canine influenza, call us immediately. To avoid spreading the flu, do not bring your dog into our office without notifying us first. To confirm the flu, we may conduct a nasal swab test.

If your dog has the flu, we will offer supportive care when appropriate, like anti-nausea medications, fluids, and antibiotics to treat possible secondary bacterial infections. There is no cure for canine influenza, so we will recommend that you keep your pup hydrated, help him get plenty of rest, and keep him away from other dogs for about four weeks after recovery to prevent spreading the virus.  

Preventing dog flu

There are vaccines to protect dogs against both strains of dog flu currently affecting pets in the U.S. and Canada—H3N8 and H3N2. A booster is required after the vaccine is administered, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

This virus is in the North and South Carolinas, and it’s important to protect your pet. If your pet is experiencing symptoms after hours, please call us immediately.