Can Dogs Get the Flu?

Dogs, Infectious Diseases

Canine Influenza is a relatively new disease caused by a “flu” virus. It causes respiratory infection and only affects dogs. It spreads quickly and may cause serious illness, such as pneumonia, possibly death.

Is Canine Influenza Found Near Baltimore?

There have been confirmed cases in counties surrounding ours. Two of them ending in death!

How Do Dogs Get the Flu?

Canine Influenza can be spread multiple ways:

  • through direct contact (licking, nuzzling)
  • through the air (coughing or sneezing)
  • via contaminated surfaces (such as food/water bowls, cages, or through human contact on hands or clothing, then coming in direct contact with a dog)

How Prevalent is Dog Flu?

About 80% of dogs that show signs will have a mild form of the disease. Clinical signs include sneezing, coughing, low-grade fever, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and lack of energy. The other 20% will show more severe signs. These include pneumonia and high fever. Unfortunately, by the time you see these signs, you dog has already been shedding the virus and infecting others, and will need immediate veterinary attention. If left untreated, death may occur.

Which Dogs Are Most at Risk of Catching the Flu?

There are multiple risk factors:

  • Dogs that come from shelters, rescue centers, breeding kennels or pet stores
  • Boarding at dog facilities
  • Visiting groomers, dog parks, or interacting with other dogs
  • Participating in dog events/competitions
  • Dogs that travel
  • Dogs that come in contact with an area where an infected dog has been

Fortunately, there is a vaccination that has been proven to significantly reduce your dog’s chance of becoming infected. Vaccinated dogs that do contract the flu typically experience less-severe symptoms, and recover more quickly.

Contact us to learn more!

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

The Benefits of Pet Insurance: Reducing the Cost of Veterinary Care

At Essex Middle River Veterinary Center, we understand that you want the best for your furry friends. However, the cost of veterinary care can sometimes be overwhelming and no pet owner ever wants to have to ask the question, "Is my pet worth it?" That's where pet...

Understanding Leptospirosis in Pets

What is Leptospirosis? Leptospirosis is a bacteria that can be shed by animals such as rodents (rats, mice), foxes, skunks, white tailed deer and raccoons. This bacteria can be shed in the urine and end up in water and soil. It can infect dogs through their mouths,...

3 Ways to Impress Your Vet

As animal health professionals, veterinarians understand that pet ownership is a significant responsibility. We are pleased to help educate pet owners on the care needs of your pet and your role in allowing them to lead happier, healthier lives. If you want to show...

Heartworm Prevention for your Pets

April is Heartworm awareness month. If you have ever brought a dog in for its annual checkup, heartworm testing and preventatives have likely been discussed and recommended. While the heartworm life cycle can be somewhat complex, there are a few simple takeaways that...

More Resource Categories:

What To Expect When You are Expecting a New Puppy

Since the pandemic began, we have seen an increase in owners getting puppies. Spring is also around the corner and...

What To Do If Your Dog Has Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common things owners tell us about when they bring their dogs in to our clinic. Before I...