Humans are used to battling many different strains of the flu. If you get a shot for one type of virus, another might still get you. The human flu bug doesn’t affect dogs, but according to a Citizens Voice report on August 18, 2014, our canine friends now have a new strain of flu that is popping up in several areas.
Vets are saying that it is much like the influenza that affects horses but it has adapted to canines. You may recall that back in 2004, 22 greyhounds became very ill at a Florida racetrack. They all showed symptoms of the flu. While many of them recovered, eight of them died of the virus.
Vets are concerned because this new virus that is exhibiting flu like symptoms in dogs is brand new and dogs do not have any antibodies to help fight it off. Just like the flu warnings for humans, this flu will affect a very young dog, an old dog, or one that has medical issues the worst.
Vets say that this new flu virus is highly contagious and will spread quickly if dogs are exposed to a lot of other dogs and one of them happen to have this new canine virus. Some people may even mistake their dog’s symptoms for kennel cough or other illnesses.
According to the report, vets from the Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital in Pa. have been contacting local veterinarians and suggesting that they might want to advise their clients to have their dogs vaccinated for this new strain of flu, just in case.
As with the human flu, one of the best ways to protect your dog is too avoid areas where a large group of dogs will be gathered such as dog parks and pet stores. People try to keep their children away from crowded areas during flu season to protect them. It seems we may need to take this same approach with our furry kids too.
If your dog exhibits signs that he or she is not feeling well, perhaps a call to your vet is warranted. The vet will know if there have been any cases of this new strain of canine flu in your area. You could even call and check just to see if you need to be cautious about taking your dog on an outing.