Is dog flu the same as human flu?
No. Dog flu is caused by a different virus than human flu, but it's flu nonetheless. Dog flu is highly contagious and has rapidly spread across the US over the past few years. And because dog flu is relatively new, most dogs have no natural immunity to the virus that causes it. All newly exposed dogs will become infected. Dog flu cannot be passed to humans or vice versa.
How do I know if my dog has the flu? How is dog flu spread?
Dog flu is easily spread by sneezing, coughing, or coming in contact with the virus left behind by infected dogs on clothing, food bowls, bedding, etc.
The first signs of dog flu are familiar to anyone who has come down with the human variety: cough, runny nose, fever, and loss of energy or appetite. But coughing caused by dog flu can continue for weeks and develop into a more serious condition, such as pneumonia. While most dogs recover, severe cases of flu can be fatal.How can I protect my dog against the flu?
Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can protect dogs. Appropriate vaccination for flu is important because 1 infected dog is all it takes to spark an outbreak. A dog can be infected and spread the virus to other dogs before signs of illness appear. That's why more doggie daycares and kennels are now requiring vaccination for flu as well as Bordetella (also known as canine cough).
Be sure to plan ahead. Your dog will need a booster shot 2 to 4 weeks after getting the initial flu vaccination.Ask your veterinarian if your dog should have a flu vaccination.
To learn more, visit www.doginfluenza.com/owners.