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Although there few confirmed reports of canine influenza (canine flu or dog flu) in Alabama, many states in the Southeast have reported dozens of cases, with at least 6 being fatal. Valleydale Animal Clinic wants you to be aware of symptoms of canine flu disease and how you can protect your pet.
How is Canine Flu Spread? Canine influenza is spread via respiratory secretions (via coughing, barking and sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The canine flu virus can remain alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours and on hands for 12 hours. Strands of canine influenza have been reported to infect cats (dog to cat or cat to cat) and there is some evidence that guinea pigs and ferrets can become infected.
How Do I Know if My Dog or Cat Has Canine Flu? Dogs. Two clinical syndromes have been seen in dogs infected with canine influenza virus. Mild form: Soft, moist cough that persists for 10 to 30 days, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, sneezing, discharge from the eyes, and a thick nasal discharge. Severe form: High fevers (104ºF to 106ºF) and have clinical signs of pneumonia, such as increased respiratory rates and effort, aside from the symptoms of the mild form. Cats. Upper respiratory illness, such as runny nose, congestion, lip smacking, excessive salivation, lethargy, fever, and anorexia.
Please watch for any of these symptoms of flu and alert your veterinarian or Valleydale Animal Clinic if you witness any immediately. Valleydale Animal Clinic has canine influenza vaccines and anyone is welcome to have their dog vaccinated. The dog flu vaccine does require a booster vaccine 3 weeks after the first dose and then annually.
– Jeff Falone, DVM
Valleydale Animal Clinic