As a responsible pet owner, your furry friend’s health and well-being are top priorities. Our McAllen Veterinarians offer services and care for every stage of their life! While you’re likely familiar with common canine ailments like kennel cough and parvovirus, there’s another potential threat to your dog’s health you should be aware of: dog flu. Scroll down to learn how to prevent it and ensure your canine companion stays healthy and happy.

What is Dog Flu (Canine Influenza)?

Canine influenza, commonly known as dog flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza A viruses. Two primary strains of the virus: H3N8 and H3N2. These viruses were initially identified in horses and birds and later found in infected dogs. Dog flu is highly contagious and can spread rapidly among dogs, especially where they congregate, such as dog parks, boarding facilities, and grooming salons. However, while dog flu can cause severe illness, most dogs recover within a few weeks with proper care from our veterinarians.

Symptoms of Dog Flu

Dog flu symptoms can vary in severity; not all infected dogs will display the same signs. Common symptoms include:

  • Lethargy – Your dog may become unusually tired and less active than usual.
  • Loss of Appetite – Dogs with the flu might lose interest in food and water.
  • Difficulty Breathing – In severe cases, some dogs may experience difficulty breathing due to pneumonia, a secondary infection that can develop after contracting the virus.
  • Coughing – A persistent, dry cough is one of the hallmark signs of dog flu. This cough can be similar to kennel cough but may be more severe.
  • Sneezing – Infected dogs may exhibit sneezing and nasal discharge, which can be transparent or mucous-like.
  • Fever – A fever is often present in dogs with the flu. Elevated body temperature indicates the body’s immune response to the virus.

Please note, older dogs and those with compromised immune systems, are at higher risk of developing complications.

How to Prevent Dog Flu

Preventing dog flu is essential to protect your pet and prevent the spread of the virus. Here are some steps you can take

  • Vaccination – The most effective way to prevent dog flu is through vaccination. We offer vaccines. Please consult our veterinarians to determine if this vaccine is appropriate for your dog based on their lifestyle and risk factors.
  • Avoid High-Risk Areas – Be cautious when bringing your dog to places with a high risk of exposure, such as dog parks, kennels, and grooming salons, especially during outbreaks.
  • Practice Good Hygiene – Wash your hands thoroughly after handling other dogs, especially if they appear sick. This can help prevent the spread of the virus from one dog to another via contaminated hands or clothing.
  • Quarantine Sick Dogs – If your dog is showing symptoms of illness, keep them away from other dogs to prevent transmission. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on care and when it’s safe to reintroduce them to other dogs.
  • Disinfect Common Areas – If you manage a boarding facility or grooming salon, regularly clean and disinfect common areas and surfaces. The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours.
  • Boost Immune Health – A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups can help keep your dog’s immune system strong and better equipped to fend off infections.

*This disease has not occurred in the Rio Grande Valley as of this date. If traveling to other parts of the country, check with a local veterinarian in your destination city, as to what their recommendations are for vaccinating pets entering their area.

Beat the Flu with Our McAllen Veterinarians

Prepare your furry friend by entrusting their health to Valley Animal Hospital. With our expert care and dedication to your pet’s well-being, you can rest assured that your pup will stay healthy and happy throughout the holiday season.

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