Although several cases of canine influenza have been reported across the United States, a local veterinarian has not seen any cases in Crawford County.
“It is not typically a cause for alarm,” said Dr. Mary Ann Boone at Pointer Trail Animal Clinic. “I have not seen any cases myself this year, and I am not aware that it is an immediate concern in Crawford County.”
Canine influenza, also known as dog flu, is a highly contagious air born respiratory infection. It can be passed dog to dog through barking, sneezing and coughing.
Boone said the virus typically will run its course in two to four weeks.
“Your pet will normally appear much better in a couple of weeks, but can continue to be contagious for up to four weeks,” she said. “Vaccines are available, but usually are not necessary. If a dog is going to be traveling or exposed to other dogs, such as boarding kennels, dog parks, dog shows, pet stores or grooming parlors, a vaccine may be advisable.”
If someone suspects their dog might have the flu, Boone suggested calling the veterinarian before taking a dog to the office to prevent possibly spreading the virus to other pets.
Humans cannot contract dog flu. However, it is possible to transfer the virus, which can survive on hands and clothing for 12-24 hours, by touching a sick dog and then later touching another dog. It is easily killed by hand washing with soap and water and normal laundering of clothing and bedding. The virus also can be transferred from a dog to a cat.
Signs of dog flu include fever, coughing, sneezing, listlessness, runny nose and eyes and decreased appetite. The symptoms are the same for cats, except they do not normally cough.