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There has been a lot of talk in the news about how this has been a bad Flu season for people. You may even know a handful of folks who have been knocked out for days due to the illness. But did you know dogs can get the Flu, too? And that people can possibly transmit it to them?

Now that I have your attention, allow me to clarify:

  1. Dogs do not get “people Flu.” Human Influenza is specific to humans and Canine Influenza is specific to dogs.
  2. People do not get “dog Flu.” Unless the virus mutates in a way not yet seen, and you are the unluckiest dog owner in town, you will not catch the Flu from your dog.
  3. People who have been in contact with a dog that is shedding Canine Influenza can carry the virus on their clothing and their skin and become a source of infection to their dog.

Here’s what you need to know:
Without washing, the Canine Influenza virus

  • can live on surfaces for 48 hours
  • can live on clothing for 24 hours
  • can live on skin for 12 hours

You are probably thinking that it is easy to recognize the signs of illness and avoid sick dogs, right?
The typical signs of Canine Flu are:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • fever
  • purulent nasal discharge
  • pneumonia (high fever, increased respiratory rate and effort)

So that should be easy to spot, and you should avoid handling dogs that are clearly sick — but Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian says
you need to know that:

  • Dogs that are infected with Canine Influenza are most infective during the incubation period, when they are shedding the virus, but not showing signs of illness.
  • The incubation period is the 2 to 4 days between the time the dog is exposed to the virus and the time the dog starts showing signs of illness.

So that healthy-looking dog you just nuzzled at PetsLuv Pet Store could be a wellspring of disease. And you could bring that disease back to your dog.

The good news is, the Canine Influenza virus can be killed easily with detergent. Wash your hands (or anywhere the dog had contact) with soap and water; change your clothes and put them in the laundry, before handling your own pet.

For an added level of protection, Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic and schedule your pet to receive a Canine Flu vaccine.

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