Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs and also cats. If you’ve seen the news lately, you’ve probably heard how quickly the dog flu has been spreading nationwide.
Canine influenza is transmitted in dogs much like it is in humans. It travels through droplets or aerosols from coughing, barking and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection. In addition, CI can be spread through objects (e.g., kennels, food and water bowls, inflatable pools in dog parks, collars and leashes) or people that have been in contact with infected dogs.
Signs, Symptoms & Incubation Period
Signs and symptoms of CI include cough, nasal and/or ocular discharge, sneezing, and lethargy.
Keep in mind that dog flu has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with signs and symptoms appearing 2 to 8 days after exposure. Dogs are most contagious during the incubation period and can spread the virus even though they are not showing any signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but still be infected and spread the virus.
Prevention & Control Measures
It is imperative to clean and disinfect objects that have been in contact with other dogs in public places like kennels, dog parks, doggy day care facilities, to avoid exposing other dogs to the virus. The virus can remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours, so pet owners and caretakers who frequent these public places should wash their hands and clean their clothing to avoid spreading the virus.
If you use a kennel, or doggy day care, ask the staff to tell you about the protocols they have in place to minimize the risk of CI in their facility. They should have written prevention & control measures that they can share with you. If not, it would be wise to grab your pup and leave! There’s no place like home to keep your loved one happy, healthy and safe.
What can Home & Pet Solutions do to help you?
Home & Pet Solutions offers in-home pet sitting (almost overnight & overnight services) and dog walking visits (check out our frequency packages).