Dog Flu Should You Worry

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Dog Flu Should You Worry

by Rebecca Prescott

Dog flu is a canine related illness that has been hitting the headlines lately, and in many cases has been described as a new strain of virus for dogs. Known as canine influenza, dog flu is an issue that has been worrying many dog owners, as there is no actual vaccine available to protect dogs against it. Most people believe that canine influenza is a relatively new illness that has seemingly appeared from nowhere, but this is largely because press coverage of it didn't start until late 2005.

About dog flu

According to experts dog flu, or canine influenza, is actually linked to a form of flu virus that affects horses, and as the result of a mutation of this virus it developed a new form of influenza that went on to affect dogs. However, dog flu is not a new virus that has suddenly made its debut in the last six months - it has actually be around for several years, since around 2004, but seemed to be limited to affecting racing dogs at greyhound tracks.

In 2005, however, dog flu seemed to sweep the country, with many canines coming down with these flu like symptoms, and many owners worried that a totally new strain of influenza - possibly deadly like bird flu - had made an appearance. No dogs are immune to this form of dog flu, which means that all dogs are at risk. However, although there was no vaccine that had been developed for this strain of flu, the mortality rate was low and most dogs do recover from this strain of flu quite quickly.

A 2006 report suggested that the infection rate for dogs when it comes to dog flu is sixteen percent, which of course equates to sixteen in every one hundred dogs being exposed to dog flu developing symptoms, which include fever, respiratory problems, coughing, sneezing, and loss of appetite. This report also suggested that the mortality rate was slightly higher than suggested in 2005, placing the figure at around seven percent. The symptoms of dog flu have been likened to the symptoms of kennel cough, and anyone that thinks that their dog has contracted dog flu should contact a vet for advice and appropriate treatment.

The good news about dog flu is that in most cases dogs that contract this illness only get it in a mild form, and this means that they go on to recover quite quickly. Dogs that contract a more serious bout of dog flu may be treated with antibiotics, but this is decision that will be made by the veterinary surgeon following assessment of the dog's symptoms. Although there is much still to be learned about dog flu, it seems that it is passed on through airborne particles rather than by contact with other dogs, and there are no cases of humans contracting this or a related strain from any canines.

Learn more about canine respiratory disorders here, or browse our articles on dog health problems.

Rebecca Prescott - EzineArticles Expert Author

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