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Dog Flu: What is it, and how can it be avoided?

Avian flu, swine, flu, equine flu and now there’s dog flu? Several communities throughout the United States are spreading the word on the dangers of dog flu, because there has been a surge of cases this season. What is it? What are the symptoms? Is it treatable? Can humans contract it? Read on to find out the answers and more…

What Is The Dog Flu?

It is a viral infection like any other type of flu and first discovered in the canine community at a Florida Greyhound racing event in 2004. It was thought to originate as the equine flu. The racing dogs contracted the initial virus while racing on a horse track. It is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog. There is a vaccine for it, however, it is best to discuss with the veterinarian whether it is worth getting. It is one of the viral causes of the more widely known ailment, kennel cough.



Mild symptoms may look like a common cold with a wet cough and runny nose. These symptoms may last from 10 to 30 days and will typically resolve itself with no medical intervention.

More severe cases will bring on high fever of 104 degrees or higher. The dog may have trouble breathing or will cough up blood. Since the virus compromises the respiratory system, pneumonia may develop on top of the flu.

Veterinary Care

There are tests that may be run to determine if the dog does indeed have dog flu. As in the case of any virus, there is no anti-viral medication available. Antibiotics may be prescribed, if there is a secondary bacterial infection present. If not, a canine cough suppressant is recommended, rest and isolation from the other members of the canine community for at least fourteen days.


Unfortunately, there is no fool proof prevention protecting dogs from getting sick. The best way to build a dog’s immunity is through nutrition and supplements. Be sure the dog is getting the highest quality food with little to no additives and fillers. Do some research and discuss with the veterinarian before beginning the dog on supplements. A good place to start looking is in probiotics and the herbs milk thistle and dandelion. All three aid in flushing toxins and strengthening the immune system.

Since its discovery, there has not been a single case of a dog passing their flu to their human.

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Written by Renee Moen
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