Dog flu floods Ohio


Anne Marsh

TAKING GOOD CARE. Senior Anne Marsh and her Havanese Louis leave the veterinarian’s office after a check-up. “It’s important to keep both you and your pets safe during flu season. I love my Golden Retriever Luna, and I have been extra careful about her socializing with other dogs,” said Rishav Dasgupta, 12. Canines can be at a higher risk of contracting the flu if they are around other dogs who may be ill, and it is vital to catch symptoms early to help treat your pup.

At the height of flu season, it is common to hear the coughing of classmates, the crinkle of tissues, and endless sniffling during your math tests.

“This year’s flu season is already the most widespread on record since health officials began keeping track 13 years ago,” said the Washington Post.

But what if I told you that dogs can contract the flu as well?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, canine influenza A H3N2, known as dog flu, is also widespread this season, especially in southern Ohio.

Just as the flu can be spread via close contact among humans, dogs often contract the illness by being around other dogs.

If your pups take daily walks to the dog park, stay boarded in a kennel while you are at school, or get groomed with other canines, they could be at higher risk for disease.

“It’s unpredictable how this happens and really depends on when a dog who has been exposed to influenza gets introduced to an environment where the virus can easily spread,” said Dr. Amy Glaser, director of Cornell’s Molecular Diagnostics Animal Health Diagnostic Center.

Symptoms of dog flu are much like that of the human flu; if your dog experiences a persistent coughing, sneezing, high fever, reduced appetite, and/or discharge from the eyes, consult your veterinarian.

Those diagnosed with dog flu are to be kept in isolation for 21 days and given plenty of rest and fluids.

There is a canine influenza vaccine that may decrease the severity of illness but will not prevent infection, according to Glaser.

To keep your pup healthy, avoid bringing him or her to places in which he or she would be in close contact with other dogs during flu season, and wash your hands after being around other pets.

While dog flu cannot cause human illness, pets can contract the human flu virus; although it may be hard to resist, try not to be in close contact with your dog if you are ill.