The flu season is levelling off, or at least it should be. At this point it wouldn’t surprise us if you were recovering from a bout with the flu or cold yourself. From November through February (though some lingering on til May!) the flu brings people low with illness. In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, getting snuggly in your bed with Pooch and resting is the top advice you’re going to get from your doctor. But, the flu is so contagious isn’t it? Is it possible to give your four-legged friend the flu?
Yes. Your dog, or even cat, can contract the flu from you. I know, it is devastating to hear, but you can make your pup sick.
Influenza is one of a number of things that have zoonotic potential. This means things like parasites, fungi, and yes bacteria and viruses that can cross between humans and animals. Remember the ‘swine flu’ (H1N1) from 2009? That’s one of the more recent and notable examples of the zoonotic nature of flu.
Signs of Infection
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestive issues – diarrhea, vomiting, decreased appetite
- Discharge from the eyes or nose – clear or mucus from nose or eyes.
Those all seem similar? That’s right, because the flu is the same illness no matter who or what contracts it, it attacks the same parts of the body and our bodies show it in much the same way.
Now, that’s the standard influenza virus that humans get and can pass on to their furry friends. But did you know there is also a Canine Influenza Virus? There are two types of flu viruses that are contagious amongst dogs. The Canine Influenza mentioned earlier as well as the Canine Parainfluenza Virus. Both of these are able to be vaccinated against!
The vaccine for CPV is commonly given in a package known as the DHPP or DA2PP vaccinations that protect against a range of viruses that affect the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
So, if your pet has already been vaccinated for CPV as a part of its regular vaccinations, when should you decide to get your pet vaccinated for CIV? If your pet is in one of the more at-risk populations, juvenile, geriatric, and immunocompromised pets for instance are more prone to infectious diseases, then getting vaccinated can be a good decision.
If your pet is going to be in an environment that promotes or hosts many dogs are considered hot zones for various diseases that need to be vaccinated for. Examples of these kinds of environments include:
- Dog Parks
- Kennels and Doggy Daycares
- Breed Shows
- Rescues or shelters
- Vet clinics and hospitals
Any one of these areas create an environment where dogs will be interacting regularly which creates not only a place for dogs to spread illnesses between each other, but they are also stressful experiences for animals. Travel, confinement, and abnormal activities all increase the stress levels in dogs. Just like us, that stress can create a weakened system more susceptible to infections.
After immunizations there are still several steps we can take to ensure our pet friends are the healthiest they can be. This includes treating them for any existing illnesses or bacteria. Clean their teeth, maintain their health to prevent other stress and illnesses from taking hold.
Practice good hygiene yourself, washing your hands and avoiding close contact with the pets during bouts of illness, both theirs and yours.
With vaccinations taken care of, hygiene taken care, and the possible environments addressed you have done your due diligence in keeping your pet safe from the flu. However, despite all of that, there is still the chance that they contract something. It’s just the nature of communicable diseases. It is important to always keep an eye and pay active attention to your pet, identifying symptoms of illness early will see them recuperating faster and before the illness really has the chance to take root.
If you suspect your pooch is suffering from the flu, or any other illness, call your vet right away. If you are in the Tucson area and need a vet, Contact Us right away to get your pet on track for healing.