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What You Need to Know About Canine Flu

As of June 2nd, The Rollins Animal Disease Lab in Raleigh confirmed the death of a dog due to the canine influenza virus. The dog was from the Raleigh area.

Canine flu is fatal in approximately 10 percent of infected dogs. Additionally, if left untreated, complications such as pneumonia can develop. It cannot be spread to humans, though humans can unwittingly spread the virus by handling contaminated items such as food and water bowls. Cats can also be infected with canine flu.

Most commonly transmitted by coughing and sneezing dogs, the virus can survive on surfaces for 24 to 48 hours, so dogs can also be infected just by being in an area such as a dog park, grooming parlor, or boarding kennel that was visited by a sick dog.

Similar to the human flu, symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny noses, fever and lethargy. However, 20 percent of infected dogs do not show any symptoms.

For dogs that are exposed to other dogs or frequent parks, boarding or grooming facilities, dog shows and other dog events, vaccination for canine flu, as well as bordetella (a bacteria that causes upper respiratory illness) is strongly recommended. Keep in mind that being vaccinated may not keep your dog from becoming ill, but prepares the immune system to better fight off the disease, resulting in a decreased severity and duration of symptoms.

This article on the NC Dept of Agriculture website provides further information regarding the canine flu, as well as proper methods of disinfection.

 http://www.ncagr.gov/vet/aws/canineflu/

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