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Dog influenza

Dog Influenza

Canine or dog influenza is considered to be one of the most dangerous and contagious respiratory viral infections in dogs.

Canine influenza is easily transferred from one dog to another but is not known to be transmitted to humans. Among dogs, the infection is transmitted via collars, toys, leashes, food bowls etc. Typically, most dogs may suffer from two types of influenza depending on the degree of the attack.

A dog who is suffering from a mild form of dog influenza will gradually develop a moist, soft cough which will continue from 10 – 30 days. This is why many a times canine influenza may be wrongly diagnosed as kennel cough initially. Some more dog influenza symptoms may also include thick mucus like nasal discharge which is mostly brought about by the bacterial infection.

The dog may not be his usual active self and may appear to be listless. The more severe form of influenza is one where the infected dog exhibits symptoms like a very high fever, increased respiratory rate and may even progress to pneumonia. When this happens, it may even be fatal for the dog.

Dog Influenza Treatments

Dog influenza treatments involve conducting various tests, baths with cool water and anti – pyretic medication. There are various anti viral drugs available that should be administered only if prescribed by the vet. In case the dog is infected by the severe form of dog influenza then the lung tissues may get damaged by gram positive and gram negative organisms. These organisms can be destroyed by antibiotics. Dogs that are severely dehydrated or debilitated by the influenza may also be put on an extensive liquid diet so as to help their body to strengthen its immune system to fight against the infection. While the dog exhibits symptoms of canine influenza, it should be kept isolated in a clean and safe environment and monitored regularly. The two commonly used methods of confirming canine influenza is firstly via PCR testing wherein a nasal swab of the infected dog is taken within 3-4 days of the dog exhibiting the symptoms of influenza and then observed for microscopic influenza causing organisms. The second method is Serology which involves taking a blood sample to test the level of antibodies present. This test is repeated after 2 -3 weeks to see if there is a change in the anti bodies count thereby confirming the onset of dog influenza.

Once the dog recovers from influenza, the immune system is known to keep the infection from reoccurring for at least two years.

  Submitted on May 4, 2010  

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