Just when you thought flu season was over! Over the past few months, New York has seen a spike in cases of Canine Influenza, or better known as dog flu. The first recent case in New York was in Brooklyn at the end of April and since then there have been dozens of confirmed cases in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.
Dogs that spend time with other dogs in close quarters, ie. Doggie daycare, dog parks, or are walked in a pack, are more susceptible to contracting the virus. Several doggie daycares have urged pet owners to vaccinate dogs against the flu.
Here’s what you need to know and what to do if you suspect your dog has contracted the virus:
The H3N2 strain is very contagious amongst dogs. Although humans can not catch it, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, they can spread the virus to canines as the flu can stay on human hands for up to 12 hours and on clothes for 24 hours.
Most healthy dogs should be fine, however, according to Veterinary experts, your dog could develop a secondary infection that could be fatal. The most vulnerable affected dogs are usually older, frail, or sick. Very young puppies are also at risk.
Symptoms to look out for include cough, lethargy, poor appetite, discharge from the nose and eyes and fever. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s better to err on the side of caution and give your Veterinarian a call.
If your dog does happen to get infected, keep other dogs safe and remove them from the presence of the sick dog. Ask a close friend or family member to pet sit so they have the best chance of remaining healthy and you can stay focused on nursing your sick dog back to health. You’ll want to avoid dehydration and continue providing fluids and a good well-balanced diet and of course, a healthy dose of TLC!
The good news is that you can help to prevent the virus by having your dog vaccinated.
There are two rounds of the vaccine administered three weeks apart. Contact your Vet to see if they recommend administering the vaccine to your dog. Contact Dr. Gladstein for a house call if you are located in Manhattan.