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Does Your Dog Have the Flu?

If you are like many pet owners, you might want to enroll your dog in dog daycare when you go away. Your pet will have a good time interacting with other canines in a safe and supervised environment. However, you will want to ensure that your four legged pal is healthy and not feeling under the weather.

It is a little known fact that dogs can actually become ill with the flu. Much like humans can get sick with influenza, there is a dog flu, the H3N8 virus that was first discovered in 2004. It is highly contagious and can leave even the most boisterous of canines feeling sluggish and generally without energy.

Dogs that are in dog daycare, kennels and other boarding facilities tend to be at the greatest risk for getting sick with dog flu. This is due to the fact that there is a larger number of dogs under the same roof. Many at a time can fall ill. Also, while there is a vaccine for the H3N8 canine influenza virus, it is unfortunately not an option for dogs who are frequent visitors to dog daycare and other similar facilities.

The dog flu is a viral infection that is airborne, spreading throughout the air and onto surfaces. It affects the canine respiratory system and carries symptoms that are similar to those of what is known as kennel cough. Dogs that are most at risk for catching the flu are very young puppies, senior dogs and dogs who have a weakened immune system. Dog flu is similar to the types of flu that humans can suffer from, although approximately 80 percent end up with a mild form of the illness that lasts on average two to three weeks.

The dog flu carries symptoms that are mostly respiratory in nature. Dogs can suffer from runny noses and sneezing, coughing and fever. There is no magical cure, and much like with humans suffering from the flu, treatment is limited to rest and lots of fluids.