Did you know that dogs can also get sick with influenza? Canine influenza is a different strain (H3N8) of Influenza A virus than the common cause of influenza in humans (Influenza A — H1N1 and H3N2) and is not transmissible from dogs to humans. Veterinarian David Ruble says that the symptoms of canine flu mimic human symptoms:
Dogs with the mild form have a soft, wet cough that lasts for 10 to 30 days. Some dogs will have a drier cough that is similar to “kennel cough”, and might cause a misdiagnosis. Dogs with the mild form of CI may also have a low-grade fever and possibly a yellowish discharge from their nose, which is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection.
Unfortunately, like humans, dogs can suffer from much more severe — even life-threatening — symptoms:
Dogs suffering the severe form develop pneumonia, which includes a high fever (104° to 106° F), an increased breathing rate, and difficulty breathing. A secondary bacterial infection usually accompanies pneumonia. The mortality rate for all dogs infected with CI is low, 1% to 5%.
Dr. Ruble says that there is a vaccine available that can prevent canine influenza. And he reminds us that if our dogs have respiratory symptoms, we should keep them away from other dogs.