Yes, your Dog can get a Cold – Tips on Canine Influenza Virus

As many of us humans have suffered from the cold and flu this season, so can your dog. This is collectively called “kennel cough.” It can be caused by both bacterial and viral sources and as the name implies, it causes your furry friend to cough. This season though, a new player in the causes of “kennel cough” has surfaced and that is Canine Influenza Virus. It is so new that a majority of the dogs in the US have never been exposed. To complicate the matter, this virus attacks any dog regardless if your dog is up on his/her shots, breed or age.

The problem with this virus is it is transmitted through the contact of other dogs. Coughing dogs place into the air droplets, which can carry the virus. Also just the nature of living and rubbing together can pass the virus from one dog to the next. While this does sound terrible, the fact that this virus does not live long outside the body makes it more controllable in a kennel setting where cleaning should be top priority.

Whilst you will always find a dog coughing in a kennel setting, the Canine Influenza Virus produces other symptoms, which in a lot of ways mimic the human flu. This includes being uncharacteristically tired, which includes not wanting to play, go for walks or even be bothered. Your dog may turn up his/her nose at food. Coughing and sneezing combined with a runny nose, which runs clear for awhile and then turns yellowish green. Finally, your dog may run a fever but all these symptoms combined may not be proof that your dog has this virus. The true test comes from your veterinarian. For a complete diagnosis, your vet will do a physical exam along with run some tests.

Yes, in some situations this virus can be fatal but death is not caused by the virus. Instead, it is brought on by secondary infections that set in due to a weak immune system. But what can you do? The same treatment a human receives at home while recouping from the flu is the same for a dog. Stay in and warm. Drink lots of fluids and eat healthy food. If your dog refuses to eat or drink, other measures may be recommended by your veterinarian who may also prescribe antibiotics for any secondary infections that pop up. Finally, as a dog owner, stay calm. This too will pass just as your family’s flu.

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