The current flu season has been deadly and is on track to be the most widespread on record. Not even our pets are safe.
Canine influenza is on the rise as well, carrying similar symptoms as you’re seeing among your coughing, sneezing, feverish friends and coworkers. The good news, though, is the flu doesn’t spread between species, so you don’t have to worry about giving the flu to your pup or catching it from them.
Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which has tracked the dog flu this year, says it’s seeing “intense flare-ups” in select areas of the country, including Illinois, Georgia, and Kentucky.
There are two strains of flu in canines, the H3N8 virus and the H3N2 virus. As of October of last year, 46 out of 50 states have been affected, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. The difficulty in tracking the disease is dog flu often goes undiagnosed.
Dog flu is spread in about the same way as it is for humans—sneezing and coughing, though they can also catch it from barking. Dogs get off a bit easier than their owners, though, as there are usually no vomiting or diarrhea symptoms. The fatality rate is estimated at between five and 10%, a spokesperson for the AVMA tells USA Today.
Even states that aren’t seeing a current outbreak of dog flu say they’re expecting it to hit them in the coming months. The good news is there is a shot pets can get to increase their resistance to the virus.
Let’s hope it works better than the one we humans received this year.