How To Keep Dogs Safe From Canine Influenza
Pet parents are currently alarmed by the spread of a contagious disease across Philadelphia, which is rapidly infecting the dogs in the city. The number of canine influenza cases is on a rapid rise in the area this winter. This transmissible respiratory disease is affecting dogs not only in Philadelphia but also in other regions of the US, including Minneapolis and North Texas.
While the exact cause of this sudden influx hasn’t been discovered yet, one possible reason could be that many dogs in the city weren’t vaccinated against dog flu, as the disease was not common in this region. However, this has made the dogs susceptible to contracting the disease, since it is highly transmissible.
What Is Canine Influenza?
Canine influenza is a highly-contagious disease that affects the respiratory system in dogs. It is caused by some specific Type A influenza viruses, which are also known as canine influenza viruses. Two types of canine influenza viruses have been identified at present. These are the H3N8 virus and the H3N2 virus.
The H3N8 virus infected horses earlier, before changing its target species to dogs in the early 2000s. The H3N2 type of virus, on the other hand, originally infected birds before affecting dogs in 2007. In the US, the first canine H3N2 case was detected in 2015 and has affected around 30 states since then. However, there has been no known case of human infection caused by these viruses.
Usually, canine influenza cases aren’t life-threatening, and the dogs generally recover within a few weeks. However, in the more severe cases, the animals may develop a secondary bacterial infection, which may even lead to pneumonia.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
With the disease spreading rapidly across Philadelphia, it is essential for pet owners to be aware of the symptoms of canine influenza. Some of the most common symptoms you need to watch out for include loss of appetite, sluggish behavior, a runny nose, cough, fever, and lower activity levels. In case of severe infection, your dog may also exhibit pneumonia-like symptoms such as labored breathing.
What To Do If You Suspect That Your Pet Is Infected?
Experts recommend getting in touch with a vet in case you suspect that your dog is infected with canine influenza – even if the symptoms are mild. A vet will be able to analyze their condition and suggest the best course of action. If the symptoms aren’t severe, they may only advise you to keep them at home and monitor their condition. They may also suggest hospitalization in case the symptoms are very serious.
While there is a vaccine for canine influenza, the sudden influx of the disease in the region has resulted in a shortage of vaccines. Until the vaccines become available it is recommended that pet owners keep their dogs away from areas frequented by other dogs such as parks or gardens. This will reduce the chances of the disease being passed on to a healthy dog from an already infected dog.
It is also best to avoid overly-populated areas if your dog has an aggressive nature, as it may bite or injure other people or their pets. And depending on the severity of the case, you may even be contacted by a Philadelphia or Atlanta dog bite injury attorney appointed by the injured party.
However, more active dogs can be taken on solo walks or play in areas with no other dogs nearby. While the number of fatalities caused by the disease is very low, it’s best to take precautions to keep your furry friend safe and healthy during this season of infections.