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What is Canine Flu?

Every year there are several reported outbreaks of canine flu throughout the country which is caused by a canine influenza virus (CIV). The virus is highly contagious to dogs and causes clinical symptoms similar to kennel cough. However, the pathogens in the two infections - kennel cough and canine flu - are different. There are no reported cases of people getting canine flu.
Clinical signs of canine flu (and kennel cough) include a mild form of coughing that can last for 10-21 days, nasal discharge, fever, and lethargy.  Some dogs are more severely affected with clinical signs of pneumonia, such as high fever and trouble breathing. Testing options include airway swabs, bloodwork and radiographs.

Treatment includes keeping the pet well hydrated, maintaining nutrition, sometimes antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections.
Prevention of canine flu is similar to prevention people take to avoid human flu.  Avoid close contact with other dogs that are sick with sneezing and coughing.  Do not allow your dog to share water and food bowls or blankets with other dogs. Wash items before returning home to help decrease contamination. Basic hygiene is always very important; owners should wash hands, especially after they touch other dogs. If your dog is sick, they should avoid dog parks and doggie daycare and other close contact with dogs.

If your pet is around a lot of dogs, such as going to dog parks, kennels and doggie daycare, a bordetella and canine flu vaccines should be considered.

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