Dog Flu Symptoms to Look Out For in Oak Park, IL


Have you ever heard of dog flu? Did you know dogs could get the flu at all? Dogs can and unfortunately often do contract influenza, which is the same type of virus that causes the flu in humans. Although humans and dogs can’t make each other sick, dogs are contagious amongst each other, so it’s important to recognize this illness right away if you think your dog might have it.

In this article, we’ll give you some information about what the symptoms of dog flu in Oak Park, IL look like. You’ll then learn about the treatment and prevention options you have and what your vet might do as you work through this illness with your dog.

What is Canine Influenza, aka Dog Flu?

Dog flu is technically called canine influenza. It’s caused by two different flu strains, which are known as H3N2 and H3N8. This is not the same type of flu as the strains that can infect humans, and there’s no risk of humans catching it from their dogs. In the same way, there’s no risk of your dog catching the flu from you if you happen to get sick.

How Dog Flu Started

The original virus that causes canine influenza H3N8 started in horses. In 2004, the first known cases of canine influenza in dogs were reported. These dogs were often in contact with horses and it’s believed that the virus causing the disease jumped from horses to dogs at this time. Dogs soon started spreading it to each other, and now canine influenza is recorded throughout the United States as well as other countries in the world.

Something similar happened with the H3N2 strain of canine influenza. This disease came from birds and eventually spread to dogs. It can now be spread from dogs to cats as well. This type of dog flu was first recognized in the United States in 2015 and is spreading, although it’s not found throughout the whole United States yet. This disease is also found in Thailand, China, and Canada, and it may be spreading elsewhere.

The Severity of Dog Flu

Because canine influenza is so contagious, there are a lot of bans on dogs entering and leaving the United States. Dogs won’t be permitted to enter the United States if they seem to be sick or show symptoms of dog flu. This may sometimes be true of other animals, such as cats, too.

Dogs rarely die from canine influenza unless they have other illnesses or compromised immune systems as well. It’s most commonly spready when dogs cough or sneeze in the vicinity of other dogs, so it spreads very quickly in kennels and shelters.

Dogs may also be able to catch this illness from contaminated objects such as dog food bowls or leashes, so it’s important to keep dogs separated entirely if one of your pets is sick and the other doesn’t seem to be. You should even wash your hands between interacting with pets in this scenario, too.

Symptoms of Dog Flu to Look Out For in Oak Park, IL

Here are some of the major symptoms of dog flu that you should be on the lookout for as a pet owner:

  • Coughing: Most dogs with dog flu will develop a noticeable cough.
  • Runny nose: Some dogs may have a runny nose or sneezing with dog flu.
  • Eye discharge: Dogs may develop runny, watery, or red eyes when they have dog flu.
  • Fever: Many dogs with dog flu will develop a fever, but not all.
  • Lack of appetite: Some dogs may have a lack of appetite while they’re sick with dog flu.
  • Pneumonia: In severe instances, dogs may develop pneumonia. This is one of the only times in which dog flu is potentially fatal.
  • No symptoms at all: Many dogs will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms.

Treatments and Prevention of Dog Flu

Vets will perform tests to find out whether or not your dog has been infected with either strain of dog flu. If the tests come back positive, the vet will let you know more information about what to expect with treatment moving forward and will likely give you some options to choose from.

Most dogs don’t die from this disease, but you will need to work with your vet to manage your dog’s symptoms. It’s also important to pay very close attention to dogs that are elderly, very young, or already sick, as they may be at a higher risk of death or serious complications from dog flu.

Most treatment is supportive and focuses on dealing with the symptoms of dog flu. Like most flus in humans, it’s impossible to actually treat the illness itself, so it’s important to simply give the dog’s body plenty of rest so it can heal on its own.

Your dog should stay hydrated throughout this time. If she is drinking plenty of water on her own, there will be no need to add to this. Your vet may recommend IV fluids if she isn’t drinking much water while she’s sick. Additionally, your vet may recommend wet food to help with moisture in your dog’s body.

If your vet thinks your dog may have a secondary infection, she will be given antibiotics. Keep in mind that these antibiotics do not treat the flu, but are for other potential issues that can crop up while your dog is sick.

Are There Vaccines for Dog Flu?

There is a vaccination available for both of the strains of dog flu in the United States. These vaccinations can be a good preventative against dog flu and are becoming more and more popular choices among dog owners. You can talk to your vet for more information about these shots.

Keep an Eye Out for Dog Flu Symptoms in Oak Park, IL

Now that you know a little more about dog flu, you can better understand how to respond if you think your dog may have contracted this illness. Dog flu is rarely fatal, but it is highly contagious and can make your dog quite sick, too.

Because of this, it’s important to brush up on the symptoms as well as the treatments and prevention options you have when dealing with dog flu. The more you learn about this illness, the better you’ll be able to deal with it if your dog comes down with it.

As always, if you’re unsure about the health or well-being of your dog, don’t hesitate to call us or bring your dog in to Companion Animal Hospital of Oak Park!