Friday, February 4, 2011

Dog Flu H3N8

          Last week we took Jasmine to the vet.  She had lost so much weight with the home made dog food we felt a trip to the vet was in order.  We got some very good news.  It turns out that Jasmine is now at her optimal weight all her tests came back negative and the vet is thrilled to see her doing so well.  While I was waiting to pay the bill I came across a pamphlet about the dog flu.  I asked one of the nearby vet techs if the dog flu was a problem in our area.  She told me that it was in fact a very serious problem in Pennsylvania.

          The dog flu is actually a subtype of the type A influenza virus and is known specifically as H3N8.  It is highly contagious, and this virus causes acute respiratory infection.  While this in its self is usually not life threatening, it can cause pneumonia.  If pneumonia develops due to the flu virus, it can be life threatening.  This is not the norm however and most dogs will overcome the illness in 14 to 21 days.
          The dog flu is often times mistaken for kennel cough because the symptoms are very similar.  Some of the things to look out for are a runny nose, low grade fever, listlessness, coughing.  If your dog has these symptoms, a trip to the vet is in order.  If your dog does have the flu, he or she will probably recommend that the dog stay with them so the proper care can be given.  Though this flu is highly contagious, and is not much fun for any dog unlucky enough to catch this flu.  The H3N8 is usually not life threatening.  In fact it is the secondary complications that can become life threatening, and the chances of that are very small.  If taken to the vet and given proper care most dogs will get over this illness in a week or two.
          If your dog spends any time around other dogs, in a dog park for example, do not let your dog near any dog that is coughing or has any one of the symptoms listed above.  If your dog comes into contact with any dog that has this flu, your dog will catch it.  The best thing you can do to avoid this is to be observant, keep on the lookout for other sick dogs in places where your dog socializes with other dogs.  If you do this, and take your dog to the vet at the first sign of any illness your furry family member will continue to live a long and happy life.
          Thank you for reading; I hope the information in this article will help keep your furry family members healthy and happy for years to come.
Nick C

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