Is there such a thing as the dog flu? Well, the answer to that depends on your definition of the flu. Oftentimes when talking about human ailments the word 'flu' is used interchangeably with 'cold' or for any general sickness. It can also be used regarding dog ailments relating to the respiratory system. There is a dog flu, which is a dog ailment caused by a canine Influenza Virus.
Canine Influenza Virus
There are many Influenza viruses that exist. There is an Equine Influenza virus, an Avian Influenza virus, a Swine Influenza Virus and the list goes on. The influenza virus also has a variety of strains. These strains are identified by surface antigens, specifically Hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). There are four strains that can establish diseases in dogs: H3N8 (Influenza A), H3N2 (Influenza A), H5N1 (Avian Influenza) and H1N1 (Swine Flu). Influenza A is very similar to Equine Influenza virus.
The canine version of the influenza virus was first identified in 2004. This makes it a rather new virus. This means that very few dogs have immunity for this virus. Consequently, dogs that are exposed to the virus will come down with the disease, since they are susceptible to it. The incubation period is from 2 to 5 days. Transmission is through contaminated respiratory aerosols when the dog coughs.
Signs and Symptoms for Dog Flu
There are two syndromes associated with dog flu: a milder version and a more severe version. Dogs with the milder version can develop a cough for 10 to 21 days that won't go away despite treatment with cough suppressants and antibiotics. The cough is normally associated with nasal discharge and a low fever. The more severe version is associated with pneumonia, high fever, trouble breathing, nasal discharge, lethargy and anorexia.
Influenza can be complicated or uncomplicated. Complicated influenza is often associated with secondary bacterial infection. The cough in the uncomplicated version is usually dry. It will become moist and soft in the complicated version.
Diagnosis is based on symptoms and lab tests to detect the virus.
Treatment for Dog FluCredit: http://twolittlecavaliers.com/2011/10/dog-flu-on-the-rise.html
You may need to check your dog in to an animal hospital or put him or her under the care of local veterinarians depending on the level of respiratory distress that your dog is suffering. Antibiotics are needed if a secondary infection is present. Hydration is also very important. Dog flu remedies may also include putting the dog in the bathroom with you when you take a shower. The humid, hot air may help breathing.
A dog flu vaccination has been developed recently. Disinfection of the area where there was a sick dog and everything the dog came into contact with including food and water bowls and toys. A solution of bleach water will do the trick.
Final ThoughtsCredit: http://animalgeneral.com/index.php/2011/11/canine-influenza-virus-information/
Dog flu is an emerging threat in the world. More research is needed but a dog flu vaccination has already been developed. Treatment for dog flu right now consists of support and waiting it out. The dog flu is something to consider and to test for if your dog comes down with a dog ailment that attacks the respiratory system.