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Can Dogs Catch the Flu?

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Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Canine flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is thought to be mainly an airborne virus, most likely transmitted by an infected dog coughing or sneezing on another. In otherwise healthy dogs, statistics show that the canine flu is a fairly mild disease with most dogs recovering in just a couple of weeks.

What are the Symptoms?

The canine influenza virus, which was first discovered in greyhounds, produces mild, self-limiting respiratory signs: coughing, sneezing, runny nose and fever. In some cases, lethargy and poor appetite may be symptoms, as well. Antibiotics do not affect the course of the disease.

It’s most likely that your dog might contract the flu virus at a daycare, boarding kennel, pet store or veterinary clinic- in other words, anywhere that there is a high concentration of dogs!

Is there a Vaccine for the Canine Influenza Virus?

A vaccine is available, but, like the flu vaccine for humans, it cannot prevent infection or symptoms from developing. At best, it can reduce the severity and duration of illness, and it may reduce viral shedding by an infected dog.

What is the Best Defense Against Canine Influenza?

A healthy immune system is the best defense against the canine influenza virus, just as it is in the case of humans. Your dog should always be supported with high quality nutrition, appropriate supplements and adequate exercise along with good stress management.