Deadly Dog Flu Reaches 15 States and Canada; It is common knowledge to most people that dogs can be affected by many of the same diseases and illnesses that plague humans. This is particularly true of pet owners. Some of the most common human illnesses that often affect pets as well include diabetes, arthritis, allergies, cancer, the common cold and yes even the flu. Over the last several years a new strain of the flu that was originally carried by birds has been contracted by canines as well. This particular strain of flu is known as canine influenza A H3N2 and has proven to be potentially fatal to some pets. Although there is a vaccine available for canine influenza it is not yet known how well it will protect against this specific strain which first appeared in Asia in 2007 and has now migrated to the United States.
It is approximated that as many as 1,000 dogs have been diagnosed with this new strain of canine influenza or dog flu with some cases resulting in death. While this potentially fatal flu strain was first diagnosed in Illinois it did not take it long to spread to other states in the Midwest and even as far south as Georgia, Texas and Alabama and as far west as California. To date this canine influenza has reached at least 15 states including Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, New York and most recently South Dakota. With so many states and so many pets being infected it is only a matter of time before this potentially deadly flu spreads even farther and affects even more pets.
While the danger of this flu is significant there are ways of protecting your pets from being affected. Since this illness is easily transferred from one dog to another in the usual ways – contact with other pets, or contaminated surfaces – the best protection is to avoid places where these pets congregate. Common such places include parks and kennels and other locations where pets are in close proximity and share toys and other items. This will not completely eliminate the possibility of your pet being infected but it will greatly reduce the risk. Keeping your pet on a leash and out of contact with other pets is also beneficial as a preventive measure.
The symptoms of this canine influenza are much the same that would be expected with any other flu such as coughing, fever and runny nose. Since not all dogs that become infected with this illness will show symptoms it is sometimes hard to tell if a pet has it. Unfortunately a pet can be infected even if they do not exhibit symptoms. This also means that a seemingly healthy animal can infect other animals as well. For this reason it is advised to avoid contact from all unknown pets.
In the case that your pet does become infected with this flu it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In order to prevent the transference of this flu from one pet to another it is important to isolate the infected animal if at all possible. Because of this need for isolation from other pets hospitalization may become necessary. For this reason the cost of treatment of this illness can become very high very quickly. This is just another reason why detection at the earliest possible time is essential. Although there have been fatalities with this strain of canine influenza how your dog fares is largely dependent on the strength of their immune system and how early the condition is diagnosed. This potentially deadly dog flu is a classic example of why routine health checks on a regular basis are so important to keep your pet in good health.