Dog Flu Pandemic


Much like man himself, man’s best friend is susceptible to getting the flu. Unlike human flu, however, the virus that affects dogs is much less recognised — and can be much more serious. The following article has been written to answer all your questions about the dog flu pandemic — what it is, what the symptoms are and how to keep your pup safe.

What actually is dog flu?

Dog flu — or ‘canine influenza’ as its more formally known — is an infectious respiratory disease caused by two specific strains of flu virus. These strains are known as H3N8 and H3N2 and only affect certain animals (most commonly in dogs). Similar to the flu in humans, the influenza virus attacks the respiratory system of the host, causing a variety of mild to severe symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Dog flu can be mild or severe, and the symptoms your dog exhibits may vary. Regardless, have your dog checked by a vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sneezing
  • A moist or dry cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • A high temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood

How is it spread?

The virus is transferred from one host to another through the air. When an infected dog sneezes, barks or coughs, it releases infected bacteria into the surrounding air. The bacteria then travels through the air and is in inhaled into the body of a nearby dog, which begins the process of infection. The virus has not been reported to affect humans, and so you needn’t be worried about either receiving the virus or having given it to your pet. If your dog is showing signs of infection it will have caught it from another infected dog.


How serious is dog flu?

While symptoms can be highly debilitating for dogs, there have been very few cases of death.

How is it treated?

Treatment will be different depending on the severity of the virus. Mild symptoms will be treated with cough suppressants and possibly a round of antibiotics. If your dog has bacterial pneumonia this will usually be treated with a series of different antibiotics. Hospitalisation for the dog will be likely until the antibiotics start to take effect and a noticeable improvement has been made. It is important to note that after your dog returns home from treatment they will likely still carry traces of the virus, and therefore must be kept in isolation away from other dogs until your pup has fully recovered.


How can I prevent it from happening to my pet?

Vaccinations are available for each of the two strains. A booster will be needed 2-4 weeks after your dog’s first vaccination. After that, a vaccination will only be needed once a year.

We ensure all our dogs have been administered with this vaccination before entering our kennels.

At Jaycliffe pets we treat each dog with individual attention and care, ensuring any issues are discovered and dealt with promptly. Our facilities are always kept clean and safe and we have experts available 24/7 who are fully educated on pet disease and illness. To learn more about our services, give our friendly team a call today.