For animal lovers and pet owners, the recent outbreak
of a sometimes fatal dog flu being discussed on the national news is a frightening
prospect. This newly discovered strain of dog flu is thought to have evolved
from a previous strain of equine flu and presents itself primarily as respiratory
distress marked by wheezing, coughing and fever as primary symptoms. The
overall symptoms are said to be very similar to another dog ailment called
kennel cough and has lead to misdiagnosis in some cases.
Although the flu is fatal approx. 10% of the time, it is commonly in very old or young dogs who have already weakened immune systems that the flu causes death. Although most cases of the dog flu are mild to moderate, the more serious cases result from complications due to high fever, chest congestion and possible pneumonia. The treatment for dogs diagnosed with this airborne virus is antibiotics; sometimes administered through IV in more serious of situations. There is no supporting evidence of humans contracting the illness and no cause for concern about human contagion.
Although treatable in most healthy dogs, this flu poses problems resulting from the fact that it is a relatively new strain. There is no vaccination yet for the canine flu and dog’s bodies do not posses the antibodies needed to fight this particular strain because it is so new. There are however a few steps responsible dog owners can take to avoid their pet contracting the illness to begin with.
You may want to curtail trips the dog play area at the park and schedule play dates only with friends that have dogs. Reason being, each owner can verify with the other that their dog is not exhibiting any symptoms before they are allowed contact. Secondly, keeping a healthy dog with a strong immune system with protect your best friend from a myriad of health problems, including canine flu. A controlled, high nutrient diet coupled with daily walks for exercise are the first and most important steps in keeping your dog fit and healthy. You may also want to consider supplements which are designed to promote liver health and boost immune functioning in your dog.
By taking some preventive precautions, dog flu, although a serious concern, does not have to impact your dog or family. If however, your dog begins displaying symptoms, bring them to the vet quickly to increase the chance for a quick and speedy recovery.
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