It’s not just humans getting hit with the sniffles this winter. A rapid increase in the number of documented cases of canine influenza, or doggie flu, has been a cause for concern among veterinarians and owners recently in the United States.
According to Merck Animal Health USA, since December, new cases of canine influenza have appeared in California, Colorado, D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
The Today Show spoke to veterinarian Dr. Cynda Crawford, who is a clinical assistant professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida, and Dr. Edward Dubovi, a virologist who served as the director of a veterinary virology unit at Cornell University for 38 years. Both offered advice and tips on how to learn more about the contagious respiratory disease and best practices for prevention and treatment of Canine Influenza.
THE SYMPTOMS OF DOG FLU:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of canine influenza include cough, runny nose, and fever. Crawford noted that other symptoms such as fatigue, eye discharge, and reduced appetite could be also signs that your dog might have influenza as well.
While it might be easy brush off what appears to be cold symptoms in dogs, when it comes to canine influenza, taking signs seriously early on is crucial. Being able to identify symptoms and taking swift action to seek treatment can help your dog from worsening and can keep the disease from spreading to other dogs.
Most dogs that come down with canine influenza will suffer the typical flu symptoms mentioned above, which can persist for up to 21 days, though some dogs may have asymptomatic infections, according to the AVMA. But in some cases, canine influenza will progress to pneumonia, similar to when people get the flu and should be treated with the same care.
Here are some tips to treat, and hopefully prevent your pooch from getting sick –