For humans, flu season can be a terrible time of year. 2018 has seen many serious cases of influenza, and that is the case for both people and dogs. There have been quite a few instances of canine influenza, also commonly known as CI on both coasts of the United States. The dog influenza has also been reported in states like Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, California, Colorado, and Washington. This highly contagious viral infection actually can affect both dogs and cats, even though it is known as canine influenza. For this reason, it is very important to keep your dogs both safe and healthy through the winter months.
The primary way the canine influenza is passed from one animal to another is through what is known as “respiratory secretions.” This means that the virus is spread into the air when a dog sneezes, coughs, or even when they bark. Likewise, other objects can become contaminated and spread the virus. This includes items dogs commonly use like leashes, shoes, food, clothing, toys and even water bowls. For this reason, common areas where dogs congregate can turn into breeding grounds for the virus, such as boarding kennels, dog parks, or doggy day care.
Scarier yet, dogs that have been exposed to the virus may not even show symptoms right away. It has been documented that 80 percent of dogs will show symptoms within one to five days of exposure, while 20 percent will not show any symptoms at all. For this reason, it is important to monitor your dog and keep a close eye on your dog and their behavior after going to public places like a dog park, for example. The virus can live on a surface for up to 48 hours, and even live on clothing for 24 hours or hands for 12 hours. This is why it is important to wash items in warm water and disinfect them if possible. If your dog does contract the flu, odds are they will survive (it has a 10 percent mortality rate) but will be sick for a few weeks. There is no cure for the flu, so visit your veterinarian for more information on how to best care for your dog.