The dog flu first made headlines when cases spring in Chicago, Illinois in April 2015. Now the respiratory virus, also known as canine influenza or H3N2 is spreading across the United States. As the virus spreads dog owners need to be on alert as to the symptoms, and what they should do to keep their dog safe, or if their dog comes down with what to do to help them and protect the virus from spreading even more.
After over 1000 cases in Chicago alone, the dog flu has spread to “Alabama, California, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Georgia.” With multiple cases reported in all those states. Veterinarians estimate that there are several thousand cases in the country, but not more than 10,000.
A potential outbreak in Ohio is a cause of great concern about the disease spreading. Katie, a 13-week-old West Highland Terrier who came from an Ohio breeding facility has been diagnosed with the disease. Ohio veterinarian Jodi Houser noted, “They have at last count 130 breeding adults. … And we don’t know where all of these puppies have gone.” The possibility that the virus will spread faster with breeding facilities as a hot spots is possible.
As for the prognosis and treatment should one’s dog get the flu, with the right care most dogs recover, although the disease can lead to death, so far only 2 to 3 percent of dogs have died. There is no vaccination or prescribed treatment, the most veterinarians call tell dog owners is the best medicine is a combination of “fluids, rest and antibiotics” for the furry patients.
So far, there is no vaccine available for this new strain of the dog flu, and there will not be one available for four months the earliest, possibly six months.
Here are some other important facts to know according Keith Poulsen, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who spoke to USA Today:
The disease spreads by dogs having “direct contact” with each other, “nose to nose.” Travel is the main reason the disease has spread beyond Chicago, across the country.
The main symptoms are “fever, cough a dry hacking one that turns a moist cough, nasal discharge, lethargy and decreased appetite.”
Young puppies and older senior dogs are the most at risk, and should avoid contact with other dogs especially in the areas most affected by the virus.
The virus has spread the most from contact in doggie daycares, kennels, and dog parks.
Dog owners should keep their dogs away from other dogs that may “appear” sick.
Dog owners who have a dog that “appear” sick should keep it away from other dogs.
Dogs in high-risk areas, or have to spend time with other dogs should be vaccinated to better protect them.
Dogs should be kept on leashes at all times when out in public.
Dog owners have not contracted the virus, but they can still spread, and are being advised to “wash their hand” before and after contact with their dogs.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian, Israeli and international news, anything from crime to human interest stories and everything in between.