What You Need to Know About the Durham Dog Flu
You may have already heard about a potentially fatal strain of dog flu that’s been slowly spreading across the country. It first made headlines when a large outbreak occurred in Chicago, back in April of this year. Since then, it’s infected dogs in more than 12 states. With 3 reported cases in Winston-Salem, this illness has now added North Carolina to the list.
Dog flu is a mix of two particular viruses: H3N8 and H3N2. The strain for which we have this recent outbreak is the H3N2. It is highly contagious and is an airborne illness, which makes it probable that a dog will be infected, if it shares any of the same airspace as an infected dog. It can be transmitted by direct contact (nose-to-nose), sneezing or coughing, and through air vents in the same room. And, has been known to spread to some cats. Humans CANNOT contract this virus. This strain is resistant to vaccines and antibiotics.
DOG FLU SYMPTOMS:
- Runny Nose
- Loss of Appetite
- General Malaise
However, many dogs do not display any symptoms of this illness until 2-4 days after contracting it — or, not at all. If no symptoms present themselves, the dog’s illness may become severe, leading to pneumonia and maybe death. However, according to Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, most dogs do recover and the mortality rate is 2-3%.
If your dog displays any of these symptoms, you should visit your vet, immediately. Your vet can perform a test to determine whether or not your dog has been infected. Although this is a viral disease, it can be treated with supportive care to boost immunity, plenty of rest and with administration of fluids. Antibiotics may be given to treat secondary bacterial infections.
HELP PREVENT INFECTION BY AVOIDING:
- DOG PARKS
- DOG DAYCARE
- DOG-FRIENDLY FESTIVALS/EVENTS
Best to keep your dog leashed and refrain from greeting other dogs, along your route. Stay clear of other sick dogs. Keep your high-risk (younger and senior) dogs at home.
Don’t panic. This is a treatable illness. Just be aware of the signs and be proactive with keeping your dog out of contaminated conditions.
Keeping your dogs at home in the care of a sitter is the preferred choice, while the danger of this illness is present. We, at Lucy’s Pet Care, will take the above precautions to help ensure your dog’s health, while in our care.