Strain of flu affects dogs

Even man's best friend isn't immune to the flu. Canine influenza, or dog flu, was identified in the US in 2015 and it has infected dogs in nearly every state since then.

Dog flu is a H3N2 virus. It's different than the straight of influenza affecting humans.

All US states except Hawaii are reporting widespread flu activity this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dog flu is spread when dogs bark, sneeze, or cough in close proximity to one another.

You can look for the following symptoms in your dogs:

  • persistent cough
  • sneezing and high fever
  • reduced appetite
  • discharge from eyes

The CDC says not all dogs show signs of the illness.

If your dog does show symptoms, it's recommended that you take them to a veterinarian to get tested. If they test positive, they can be prescribed medication to fight secondary infections or fluids to restore hydration.

Also, there is a canine influenza vaccine. It may not prevent infection, but it can decrease the severity of the illness.

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(This story was originally published on Jan. 29, 2018) 

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