Canine flu, also known as dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus. There are two strains of the virus that can cause canine flu: H3N8 and H3N2. H3N8 was first identified in 2004 in racing greyhounds, while H3N2 emerged in Asia in 2007 and was first identified in the United States in 2015.
Dogs can contract the virus through direct contact with an infected dog or by coming into contact with contaminated objects or environments, such as food and water bowls, kennel surfaces, or toys. The virus can also be spread through the air when an infected dog coughs or sneezes.
The symptoms of canine flu include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, dogs can develop pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
There is a vaccine available for both strains of canine flu, which can help reduce the severity and duration of the illness. Dogs at higher risk of contracting the virus, such as those that frequently visit dog parks, boarding facilities, or grooming salons, may benefit from vaccination.
Treatment for canine flu typically involves supportive care, such as rest, hydration, and nutrition, as well as medications to control fever and coughing. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.
It is important to note that while canine flu can cause serious illness in dogs, it cannot be transmitted to humans. However, humans can potentially spread the virus to other dogs through contaminated clothing or other objects. Therefore, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands and changing clothes, when handling or caring for dogs with suspected or confirmed canine flu.