Canine Influenza: What You Should Know

A highly contagious canine flu virus has hit the Midwest in the United States affecting over a thousand dogs with human flu-like symptoms. The current epidemic is the H3N2 strain which originates from Asia. It can cause your dog to be sick for up to two weeks or longer. The incubation period is 1 to 3 days but dogs can be contagious for up to 14 days. There is no vaccine for this strain of canine flu. Some of the symptoms are lots of coughing, high fever, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat and loss of appetite.

A dog can be a carrier of the virus without showing any symptoms. The odds of dog to human transfer is very low but it has been reported that cats have been affected. “The dog population here has never seen this strain before,” said Dr. Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He adds, “The virus is likely spread through nose-to-nose contact with other dogs, which occurs at doggy day care centres, veterinary clinics and dog parks”.

There is concern that it could become far reaching so follow these tips to keep your dog safe:

  • If your dog is sick, do not
    take him anywhere.
  • If he is not sick, use a leash
    at a dog park or other area populated with dogs.
  • Do not treat your dog with
    cough syrup or other over-the-counter medications.
  • Go to your vet to receive the
    appropriate supportive care.
  • Keep your dog at home for
    several weeks to fully recover.An excellent resource to learn more about
    canine influenza is at this link for the Center for Disease Control and
    in the US. Alternatively, you may watch this short but
    informative video titled Canine
    Diseases and Treatment: What are Symptoms of Dog Flu?
    Until next time,


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