Canine Flu: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

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What is the Canine Flu?

Canine flu, also known as Canine Influenza, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that affect dogs. There are two strains of canine influenza virus: H3N8 and H3N2. Dogs can contract the virus through direct contact with infected dogs, contaminated objects, or respiratory secretions. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, and reduced appetite. In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia. Vaccination and practicing good hygiene, such as avoiding contact with infected dogs and disinfecting shared items, can help prevent the spread of canine flu.


Have you ever heard of the “dog flu”? It’s a real thing! Canine influenza, also known as the dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that affects our furry friends. A specific subtype of Influenza Virus A called H3N8 causes it. Did you know that according to the American Kennel Club, over 80% of dogs that are exposed to the virus will become infected? That’s why it’s important to be aware of this illness and take steps to prevent its spread. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of the canine flu and what you need to know to keep your furry best friend healthy.

Did this virus come from the Bird Flu?

Canine influenza is not the same as bird flu, which is also called avian influenza. Both viruses cause the flu, but they’re different. Bird flu is a specific type of avian flu (H5N1) and is a big concern worldwide. Canine flu and bird flu are both part of the Orthomyxoviridae family, which means they both cause the flu in animals and humans. But they’re different strains. Canine influenza is more closely related to the horse or equine influenza virus and is likely mutated from this strain.

What does the Canine Flu do to dogs?

The canine influenza virus can cause mild to severe illness. Mild effects include a soft, moist cough with or without a low-grade fever that lasts 10 to 30 days despite treatment. Along with yellow/green nasal discharge, if a secondary bacterial infection occurs. More severe illness can result in high-grade fever as well as rapid/difficult breathing, which is often caused by secondary pneumonia.

Is Canine Flu fatal?

Typically, most infected dogs develop mild to moderate signs that resolve within 10 to 30 days without problems. As with other flu viruses, fatalities can occur, but are not common, and are generally due to secondary complications such as bacterial pneumonia.

Is the virus just in a few states, or is it all over?

The flu that affects dogs is called Canine Flu. Right now, it is a virus that is around in some places, but not in others. Outbreaks have been reported in certain states, such as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and more. Outbreaks in pet dogs have occurred in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, the state of Washington, and Washington, D.C. These cases occurred in animal shelters, rescue groups, pet stores, boarding kennels, and veterinary clinics.

How easy is it for my dog to catch?

The virus is contagious—spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions. Thus far, most outbreaks have occurred between dogs who are kept in large numbers in relatively close quarters, such as greyhounds at racing tracks. The risk of infection in a canine who does not attend dog shows or frequent kennels is fairly low. However, because this is a recently emerged disease, there is no natural or vaccine-induced immunity—so all dogs are susceptible.

I think my dog may have caught Canine Flu. How do I know for sure?

The symptoms of canine influenza closely resemble those seen with other respiratory diseases, such as kennel cough. Because of this, kennel cough can be mistaken for canine flu.

While there is currently no reliable rapid test available to veterinarians for diagnosing canine influenza, tests are available at certain diagnostic labs. For more information, contact your local veterinarian.

Can people get Canine Flu?

No proof has been found that shows that the dog flu virus can be passed from dogs to people. Usually, it’s rare for a virus to jump from one animal species to another and make the second species sick, especially if they have a healthy immune system.

However, it is important to remember that dogs can spread the virus to other dogs through coughing, barking, and close contact. So it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus by isolating infected dogs and practicing good hygiene. This includes washing your hands thoroughly after handling your dog or coming into contact with any surface they have touched. Additionally, it’s important to get your dog vaccinated against the canine influenza virus if you live in an area where outbreaks have been reported.

What can people do to help prevent the spreading of Canine Flu from one dog to another?

If your dog gets Canine Flu or another sickness in their throat, it’s important to keep them away from other dogs until they feel better. Cleaning with soap and water can help get rid of the virus on surfaces. To be extra careful, you should wear gloves when touching an infected dog or cleaning their area.

It’s important to keep in mind that while Canine Flu is highly contagious, it’s not the end of the world. With proper treatment and care, most dogs recover fully within two to four weeks. To protect your dog and others, it’s important to keep your furry friend away from other dogs that might be sick. And, make sure you wash your hands or wear gloves when handling dogs that are infected with Canine Flu or any other respiratory disease. Keeping your dog’s environment clean and disinfected can also help prevent the spread of the virus. By taking these steps, you can help protect your dog and others from the spread of the Canine Flu.


In conclusion, Canine Flu, also known as Canine Influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs. It is caused by influenza viruses, specifically the H3N8 and H3N2 strains. The virus can spread easily through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects. Recognizing the symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever, is crucial for early detection and prompt veterinary care. Vaccination and practicing good hygiene are essential in preventing the spread of the virus. By staying informed, taking preventive measures, and seeking appropriate treatment, we can help protect our furry companions from the Canine Flu and ensure their health and well-being.

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