Flu sea­son con­tin­ues for ca­nines

Wisconsin Gazette - - Pet Gazette -

The 2018 cold and flu sea­son may be over for hu­mans, but not for dogs.

Ca­nine influenza — or “dog flu” — is a year-round ill­ness that can eas­ily spread.

“Dog flu is highly con­ta­gious and we’ve seen thou­sands of cases be­ing re­ported over the last year,” says Kathryn Primm, DVM, co-au­thor of the Pet Par­ent’s Guide to Infectious Dis­eases of Dogs. “The good news is that it’s also vac­cine pre­ventable. Dogs can be pro­tected against both strains of dog flu with a sin­gle vac­cine.”

Spring and early sum­mer are great times for pet par­ents to talk to vet­eri­nar­i­ans about vac­ci­nat­ing their dogs since warmer weather means more time spent out­side so­cial­iz­ing with other dogs.

Here are an­swers to some com­mon ques­tions pet par­ents have about dog flu.

What ex­actly is dog flu?

There are two strains of the ca­nine influenza virus — H3N2 and H3N8. The for­mer is rel­a­tively new and re­spon­si­ble for most of the re­cent cases. Com­mon symp­toms of dog flu in­clude high fever, lethargy, loss of ap­petite, cough, runny nose and, in some cases, pneu­mo­nia — which can be life-threat­en­ing.

How do dogs get the flu?

Dog flu is highly con­ta­gious and can pass be­tween dogs through virus par­ti­cles in the air, phys­i­cal con­tact with other dogs, in­di­rect con­tact with an in­fected dog or con­tact with a per­son who has in­ter­acted with an in­fected dog. Since dogs have no nat­u­ral im­mu­nity against dog flu, al­most all un­vac­ci­nated dogs that en­counter the virus will be­come sick.

Are cer­tain groups of dogs more sus­cep­ti­ble to dog flu?

Pups that travel with their fam­i­lies or are fre­quently in con­tact with other dogs at places like dog parks, dog­gie day care, groom­ing fa­cil­i­ties and board­ing ken­nels are at in­creased risk and should be vac­ci­nated against both strains of dog flu.

Why should I get my dog vac­ci­nated now?

Dog flu is not sea­sonal but rather year­round. How­ever, be­cause dogs tend to be more so­cial in the spring in many parts of the coun­try, they are more likely to en­counter a con­ta­gious dog. In ad­di­tion, with sum­mer ap­proach­ing, dogs that will be boarded should fin­ish the dog flu vac­ci­na­tion at least two weeks be­fore the planned date of board­ing. Dogs vac­ci­nated for the first time need two shots, two to four weeks apart. An­nual re­vac­ci­na­tion just re­quires one shot.

Can dogs trans­mit the flu to hu­mans?

No. To date, there is no ev­i­dence that hu­mans can catch the ca­nine influenza virus from dogs.

Can I vac­ci­nate my dog against both strains?

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can An­i­mal Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, dogs at risk, such as those that are boarded at ken­nels, at­tend dog­gie day care or visit dog parks, should be vac­ci­nated against both strains of dog flu, avail­able in a sin­gle vac­cine. Dogs should be vac­ci­nated on an an­nual ba­sis to pre­vent ill­ness or de­crease the sever­ity of symp­toms if they do be­come sick. To find a vet that car­ries the dog flu vac­ci­na­tion, you can visit dogflu.com and search by your ZIP code.

How long has this vac­cine been avail­able?

Bi­va­lent vac­cines, which are vac­cines that con­tain both strains of dog flu, were in­tro­duced to the mar­ket in 2016 and 2017. Mil­lions of dogs have been vac­ci­nated.

Spring weather is ex­cit­ing for both pet par­ents and their dogs — it means it’s time to get out­side and play. Avoid the risk of dog flu by talk­ing to a vet­eri­nar­ian about vac­ci­na­tion and vis­it­ing dogflu.com to find a vet­eri­nar­ian and sched­ule an ap­point­ment for a ca­nine influenza vac­ci­na­tion for your pet.

Symp­toms of dog flu in­clude high fever, lethargy, loss of ap­petite, cough, runny nose and, in some cases, pneu­mo­nia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.