Yes, as it turns out, dogs can also get the flu.
The County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, and some local veterinarians, are passing along word this morning that Canine Influenza has been confirmed in as many as 35 dogs recently imported from China and now spread out around the Los Angeles area.
“As of April 7,” according to a report from the Health Department, “there have been 34 sick dogs reported, including 5 confirmed by laboratory testing (PCR) and 29 suspected. The sick dogs, plus an additional 8 healthy but exposed dogs, are under quarantine or isolation in 10 locations around Los Angeles County. So far there are no cases reported outside of these locations.”
The report goes on to say:
“Most of the dogs were imported from Asia and seen by a veterinarian upon arrival into LA County. The dogs showed signs consistent with influenza such as coughing, sneezing, fever and nasal discharge. A total of 27 dogs were sick with the disease and treated with supportive care. Final testing of two dog revealed a strain of canine influenza (H3N2) commonly found in Asia, further testing is pending. Most of the dogs have recovered.”
Symptoms of canine influenza sound much like human influenza symptoms. They include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, lethargy and fever. Please note, though, that according to the Health Department, “to date, there is no evidence that humans can become sick with H3N2 canine influenza.” If your dog shows symptoms, however, please keep it away from other animals and contact your veterinarian. And if you are concerned that your healthy dog could contract the virus from another dog, a vaccine is also available through your vet. It consists of an initial shot, with a booster three weeks later, and then a yearly injection after that. Also, just so you know, even if your dog does contract the flu, most dogs with canine influenza do recover in 2-3 weeks.
See the links above for more information on Canine Influenza and the cases found recently in Los Angeles.