Dog Flu, Yes Canines Get Sick Too

Dog flu

With dog flu, if someone’s canine gets sick from it, do not fear, humans can not get it. At least there have been no reported cases of it. Many people want to know where it came from. Most people are curious, and scared for their pooch. The two specific types of flu viruses for canines are H3N8 virus, and H3N2 virus. Even though there is no known cases of the canine flu passing from dog to owner, there are many different types of flu, and viruses change very easily. So it is possible for the canine flu virus to change and affect humans. the CDC is monitoring both dog flu viruses very carefully, because dog viruses do pose a slight threat to humans.

The H3N8 dog flu started with horses, and spread to the canines, and is capable of being passed between canines. This virus, also known as the horse virus, has been known to stick with the horse for more than 35 years. In 2004, there were some reported cases of a serious illness mostly contracted by greyhounds, that attacks their respiratory system. After a thorough investigation, the CDC found out that the respiratory virus came from the horse flu. The illness jumped from horse to dog, and has adapted to spread among them. This is not like the Ebola virus.

In Illinois there were about 1,000 canines that contracted the H3N2 illness. However, the dog flu has been found in 11 other states including, California, Texas, and New York. The illness can spread rapidly in bigger cities, which is a bit frightening, because H3N2 could have possible come from Asian birds, which can jump between dogs and cats. According to Keith Poulson, a Veterinarian in Wisconsin, the dog flu spreads to canines through their noses. As people bring their pets around other canines, the virus will spread from dog to dog.

A few symptoms a dog can have is coughing, runny nose, and fever, however not all pooches, have all symptoms. How sick man’s best friend gets can range from no symptoms, to severe. Less than three percent of the time it can cause canines to die. It is a good idea to keep the pooch away from his canine pals, and obey the leash laws. There are vaccines, but if there is a dog flu outbreak nearby, it is not required. If a canine is around the dog flu, it is a good possibility that the canine will get sick. However, most dogs have already been vaccinated.

All dogs are at risk no matter the breed, size, or length of hair, although dogs with a snout like a french bulldog, have a better chance of getting sicker than other dogs. The way their respiratory system is designed makes it harder for them to handle the dog flu.

There are tests to see if a dog has the canine flu, the local veterinarian can tell if the test is required. A veterinarian can make a diagnosis to see if treatment is required, and what course of action to take.

More information can be found in articles such as, influenza A virus, in dogs with respiratory disease in Florida. The Emerging infections disease journal, and the AVMA website also has some good information.

Dogs bond with their human owners, just as people bond with their dogs. A group of investigators found the bones of  a wolf, that suggested dogs evolved from wolves over 25,000 years ago. The research concluded that either dogs became domesticated over 35,000 years ago, or a divergence between two wolf packs, and one pack inadvertently evolved in to the wolves of today. However it happened, man’s best friend is the canine, and he or she can get sick with the dog flu, just like people get the typical flu.

By Katherine Miller-Chichester

Sources: key facts about canine influenza (dog flu)

web md: Dog flu: keep your pet safe

The Washington Post: Dog flu now in 12 states

The Washington Post: Dogs have been man’s best friend for much longer than we think, a study suggests

Photo courtesy of  eliabeth tersigni’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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