Dogs can get the flu just like humans, and it can be dangerous. As dog lovers and owners, it is our responsibility to keep them healthy. What follows is everything you need to know to keep your dog safe.
There is a new dog flu vaccine and veterinarians are encouraging pet owners to get it for their pups. A new strain of canine influenza has spread across the country.
“It was unreal. It was the worst nightmare that could ever happen,” dog show hobbyist Jodie Strait said. “I went to a dog show to show my dogs and I almost killed them.”
The dog flu is a very contagious illness that can cause infection and sometimes death. This season’s flu has been found in 46 states.
Strait was returning from the Australian Shepherd National Specialty in St. Louis, MO when she noticed her Australian Shepherds were very sick.
“At the time we thought it was a simple case of canine kennel cough,” Strait said, “but within a few days all of my dogs were fighting for their lives.”
All of her dogs were showing symptoms of influenza: coughing, sneezing, lethargy, decreased appetite, and breathing difficulties. It had spread from one dog to the others.
“Sitting alone with a dog gasping for breath in the middle of the night was horrific and something I would not wish on anyone,” Strait said. “I told (the dogs) they owe me nothing. Just please, please keep breathing…Just breathe… I was one of the lucky ones – mine survived.”
It took weeks of treatment, but fortunately all of her dogs survived. However, six of the seven can no longer compete. One has permanent throat issues and another has lung disease.
“I carry tremendous guilt that my healthy and happy dogs got sick,” Strait said. “I do everything possible for my dogs and only by the grace of God are they with me.”
Unlike human flu, canine influenza spreads all year in most climates. Your dog can get it at any time.
“If you notice the signs, get in touch with your veterinarian, knowing that this can be a very serious disease and it can cause severe illness,” said Dr. Jennifer Bonovich, a veterinarian in South Carolina. “Some cases do require hospitalization and it can cost several thousand dollars.”
Strait wants owners to get their dog’s blood tested immediately if they notice their dog is acted strangely. She wishes that she hadn’t assumed it was kennel cough.
“Don’t just keep saying it can’t happen to you because it can. It can happen to anybody,” Strait said. “It’s really scary and, honestly, the shot is way cheaper than the pet bill.”
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Source: Our Passion for Dogs