Man’s Best Friend Can Get the Flu Too

Man's Best Friend Can Get the Flu Too

We’ve all heard of swine flu, but have you heard of the dog flu?  Don’t worry, you don’t have to run out and get another annual shot, however, you may need to watch out for four-legged friend.

Recently, there has been sightings of the flu (H3N2) in dogs in the mid-western area in places like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  Symptoms are similar to our common flu and range from coughing, a fever, and a runny nose.  However, some dogs may not even show symptoms, and as many humans are able to recover swiftly from the attack, there have already been six cases of death in Chicago attributed to dog flu.

But where did this flu even come from? Professionals from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine think that the flu actually originated in Asia in live bird markets that spread to dogs throughout South Korea, Thailand and China.

And now it is spreading quickly throughout the United States, especially in urban areas.  Because many owners don’t have the time or proper environment to walk and play freely with their dogs, many look to great alternative of “doggie day cares.”  Unfortunately, this is also a great place for their dogs to catch the flu.  In fact some day cares have been advised to close temporarily and as a result businesses have suffered significantly.  However, various spring breaks have caused the virus to spread even faster.

The worst part is that we can spread the virus on our clothes and skin, and although it has not reached our area yet, Cornell experts say that more outbreaks can occur.  So don’t jump right into pulling your dog from social gatherings quite yet, just be on the lookout for your furry friend and maybe check out the vaccine.