WTF Fun Fact 13120 – The Rise in Canine Influenza Cases

You may have heard that the 2022 flu season has been particularly bad for humans. But there has also been a rise in cases of canine influenza. Did you know your dog could get the flu?

What is canine influenza?

Don’t worry – YOU can’t give the flu to your dog. Only zoonotic diseases can be passed between species, and the type of seasonal influenza we get isn’t one of them. (However, there are zoonotic influenzas that animals can give to humans).

While you’re not responsible for infecting your dog, there are a lot of commonalities between humane and canine flu. For example, both cause symptoms like cough, fever, and a runny nose.

Dog flu is also airborne and highly contagious. Dogs get it from other dogs through nasal droplets that are spread when they cough, sneeze, or bark. It’s common in kennels, but it can be spread at the dog park, doggy daycare, or even veterinarian’s office.

Why the rise in dog flu?

Dog flu can spread year-round, but the current strain called H3N2 appears to be a result of people loosening their COVID restrictions and heading out and about with their pups. It’s the same reason we catch the flu.

Dogs with the flu experience lethargy and respiratory symptoms and should be checked by a veterinarian (which you may be able to do through telemedicine if you’re concerned about exposure).

Cases are so plentiful this year that some shelters have stopped adopting out dogs until they’re well again and doggy daycare centers in some cities have had to shut down to avoid spreading it.

Dogs can experience fever and loss of appetite if their case is bad enough, and it can turn fatal if they develop pneumonia, so the symptoms are nothing to ignore! Dogs have had to be hospitalized and given oxygen just to keep them breathing.

If you’re concerned, the best bet is to give your vet a call. They may offer a flu vaccine for your pup. However, just like human flu vaccines, these aren’t 100% effective in preventing the flu. But they can help lessen symptoms if your dog gets sick.

If your dog shows any signs of the flu, you should isolate them immediately to prevent them from spreading it to other people’s pups.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Dogs Are Impacted by an Intense Flu Season, Too” — Smithsonian Magazine