Cases of canine influenza (or dog flu) cropped up across the United States in 2018. Now, veterinarians want pet owners to be prepared for more possible cases in 2019.
Dr. Karen Stasiak of Zoetis, a leading animal health company, provided tips to PEOPLE on how to protect your dog against canine influenza (CIV).
Preventative care is the easiest way to keep your pet safe. Dr. Stasiak recommends talking to your veterinarian about getting your dog a canine influenza vaccine. There are bivalent vaccines that help guard your dog against both strains of dog flu - H3N2 and H3N8. Almost all dogs are susceptible to canine influenza, so vaccination is the best way to protect them.
Unfortunately, even with preventative efforts, dogs can fall ill with canine influenza. CIV has no seasonality, so owners should always look out for symptoms, especially if their dog spends lots of time with other canines at places like doggie daycares.
While the severity of infection varies from dog to dog, CIV has several common symptoms. Signs of dog flu include reduced appetite, high fever, cough, runny nose and lethargy. If symptoms are left unchecked, the illness can progress to pneumonia.
It is important to visit a veterinarian as soon as you spot symptoms. Based on your pet's symptoms, a vet will be able to develop a treatment plan that can get your dog feeling better. Treatment may include antibiotics or other medications.