Dogs Are Impacted by an Intense Flu Season, Too

A surge in canine influenza cases has likely resulted from changes in human behavior due to relaxed Covid-19 guidelines | PLUS: 10 common signs that your cat or dog is sick

Smithsonian – As Americans navigate the worst flu season in more than a decade, dogs across the country are facing flu outbreaks and symptoms like cough, fever and runny nose as well.

Known as “canine influenza,” or dog flu, the highly contagious virus is airborne and can spread through direct contact, nasal discharge through barking or coughing and contaminated surfaces like kennels and leashes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Though the virus, which doesn’t infect humans, can spread year-round, a surge in cases has occured recently—specifically with a strain of the flu known as H3N2.

“One dog walks into a kennel and all the dogs walk out of the kennel with [dog flu].”

Veterinarians suggest the nationwide uptick is due to changes in people’s behaviors with Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed, reports the New York Times’ Emily Anthes.

Dog shelters that were previously vacant during the pandemic are now full. As more people travel and return to in-person work, dogs are spending more time together in kennels and daycare centers, which allows the canine influenza to spread easier.

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Increased holiday travel may also increase the surge in cases among pets, reports Maia Belay for Fox 8.

“One dog walks into a kennel and all the dogs walk out of the kennel with [dog flu],” Earle Rogoff, a veterinarian and owner of Orange Village Animal Hospital in Ohio, tells Fox 8.

“If you’ve had your dog in a kennel or dog park or grooming with other dogs and three to five days later they start coughing, they get lethargic, show respiratory signs, then you definitely want to have them checked by a veterinarian.”

As a result of the spike in cases, veterinarians have taken to social media to warn people about the virus.

Daycare centers for dogs have closed and some shelters have paused adoptions, per The New York Times … READ MORE. 

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FROM Bowman Veterinary Hospital, Auburn, California … 

Here are 10 common signs that your cat or dog is sick:

  • Decrease in appetite accompanied by weight loss
  • Bad breath or foul odor coming from the ears or skin
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Unexplained aggression or other behavioral changes
  • Trouble walking or climbing stairs
  • Inability to urinate or have bowel movements
  • Respiratory problems: sneezing, coughing, excessive panting, trouble breathing
  • Lethargy, hiding
  • Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abnormal whining, crying, or other vocalizations

Some symptoms are clear signs that you should seek immediate treatment, including the following:

  • Hard, distended abdomen
  • Inability to urinate
  • Excessive diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lack of coordination/inability to stand

First, remain calm and make a note of your pet’s symptoms and when they began. Then contact your veterinarian to find out if you should schedule an appointment or visit the nearest emergency hospital. Your pet may require diagnostic tests that include bloodwork; urinalysis; heartworm tests or screenings for tick-borne diseases; ECG to check heart rhythm; and other diagnostics.

Once your pet is receiving treatment, be sure to finish any medications prescribed, and report any new or worsening symptoms to your pet’s veterinarian immediately. source. 

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