As the air cools and autumn approaches, the flu season is also right around the corner—not just for you, but for your pets as well. Canine flu is an airborne disease, much like kennel cough, and is spread from dog to dog.
Dogs can now get an annual flu shot just like their human companions. The canine flu vaccine is administered with two injections spaced two to four weeks apart. It can be given to dogs 6 weeks of age or older. (Ask your family veterinarian for more information.)
Most dogs affected by the flu will have a soft, moist cough with or without yellow/green nasal discharge. Those more severely affected may also have rapid/difficult breathing, which is usually caused by a secondary complication of pneumonia. It’s important to note these symptoms can also represent other respiratory diseases, and your dog should be taken to your veterinarian at the earliest signs of illness to be accurately diagnosed and receive appropriate treatment.
Most dogs will successfully recover, with fatalities from the flu being uncommon. However, a complication of developing pneumonia can be very serious and generally requires antibiotics. While you won’t contract the flu from your dog, your sick pet can infect other dogs in the household. Keep Fido away from other dogs until he is back to his healthy self again.