Dog Flu In 26 States: What Can You Do?
Dog flu spreads in 26 states and dog owners are now wondering what should they do to protect their pets. According to experts, if a dog is in contact with other dogs, (at home or in a park), the owner is advised to give the animal a flu shot.
Dog flu spreads in 26 states, is your dog at risk? What are the symptoms and what can you do to protect your dog?
According to veterinarians across America, dogs are at risk of catching the flu like their two-legged friends known as humans. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that canine influenza or dog flu had sickened dogs in more than 26 states – some experts believe at least 30 states have been affected.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, canine influenza is caused by H3N8, which is originated in horses and H3N2 originated from birds. Dogs have no “have no natural immunity to the disease” therefore it is easily transmitted between individual dogs. Canine influenza, which is considered to be an endemic in some regions of the United States, is spread through the air, contaminated surfaces like food and water bowl, and through humans.
The first case of dog flu was detected in April in Illinois, and officials went on to confirm 820 positive tests for canine influenza in 2015. Owners are asked to look out for the following symptoms to know if the respiratory disease has hit their pets:
About 80% of infected dogs with H3N8 show symptoms, of the mild form include a cough that lasts for 10 to 30 days and possibly a greenish nasal discharge. Dogs with the more severe form may have a high fever and pneumonia. Pneumonia in these dogs is not caused by the influenza virus, but by secondary bacterial infections. The fatality rate of dogs that develop pneumonia secondary to canine influenza can reach 50% if not given proper treatment.
So, should you give your dog a flu shot? According to vets, the answer is yes if your pet is in contact with other dogs, like in kennels, doggy daycares, shelters, dog parks or dog shows. In 2009, a vaccine was made available by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This vaccine, which cost about $25, must be given twice initially with a two-week break, then annually after that.