Dog Flu making it's way across California

Veterinarian Shadi Ireifej treats a dog at the United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Campbell. Ireifej says he's seen 50 dogs with flu-like symptoms in the past two weeks

The flu season has been off to a rough start in California and veterinarians report it's not just people who are getting sick and now dogs are coming down with influenza too. There have also been several outbreaks in the USA, but Canada has never seen any cases until now. Both dogs have the H3N2 strain and their new owners have placed each of them into quarantine, away from other pets.

And if your dog does come down with the flu?

Canine influenza can't infect humans, but it can be risky for dogs and might even lead to death, with a mortality rate of 10 percent, if not treated, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

On the other hand, one vet at the United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Campbell recently told SFGate the facility had seen about 50 cases in the past two weeks, but no reported deaths, as the mortality rate of dog flu is low.

Dr. Carotenuto said there is a vaccine for canine influenza, and it is effective.

Canine flu is a fairly mild disease, Weese says, but a small population of dogs will get more seriously ill. "The veterinarian can then put them on medications to treat symptoms, possibly treat secondary bacterial infections, as well". That's more likely in dogs that already have other diseases: "respiratory disease, heart disease or other things that make them more likely to get a serious illness", he said.

As with the flu in humans, there is a vaccine.

"Dogs have a lot of nose-to-nose, and that's where flu is shed".

As a result of such findings, a 2016 review paper disturbingly concluded "that dogs could play a role in virus adaptation and genome mixing before spread [sic] to other species". "So close, sharing items like toys and food bowls will let this virus spread really readily", Weese said. "I'd be concerned if they weren't eating or drinking but other than that, they need to get out and just be dogs", said Poirier. It gives them fever, they feel pretty run down, they get a cough which is often the most remarkable sign.

Human influenza, meanwhile, is widespread in every state but Hawaii.

As mentioned, it doesn't appear that humans can contract dog flu.

Evidence indicates that dogs can become infected with human-adapted influenza strains.

"It's really unlikely to happen, but because it's possible, that's why we pay attention to it", he said.

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