Today’s post is a part of the Insider’s Program for If This Dog Could Talk on Bloggy Moms. All opinions are my own.
Our pups are an integral part of our family. They tag along with us on car rides, experience vacations, enjoy special treats, run around like one of the kids, and definitely find a way to include themselves in our daily routine. Like other members of the family, however, our dogs can also get sick. And when it happens, it can be heartbreaking.
Dog flu, or canine influenza, is the dog’s version of the flu and can come with the same dire consequences. Unlike with people, though, our dogs can’t vocalize into words when they don’t feel well. If only our dogs could talk. We also can’t always control our dog’s behavior. They’re playful pups who want to socialize and get into what they shouldn’t. So we need to be aware and stay prepared for them.
However, unlike the human flu, which is seasonal, dog flu can strike all year round. And, because it is a relatively new virus, many pet owners are unaware of its threat to our furry friends.
In fact, there’s now a new strain of even more worrisome dog flu. H3N2 emerged in the United States in 2015 and has continually caused outbreaks throughout the country. Why is this strain so much worse? Because close to 100 percent of dogs are naïve to the H3N2 strain and have no natural immunity to it. This means that virtually all exposed dogs become infected.
Common signs of dog flu include coughing, fever, sneezing, ocular discharge and lethargy. In severe cases, pneumonia can develop from dog flu, and critically ill dogs may even die from complications. So if you think your pup isn’t feeling well, it’s time for a sick day! Just like you wouldn’t bring a sick to kid, dog owners whose dogs are coughing or showing other signs of respiratory disease should not participate in activities or bring their dogs to facilities where other dogs can be exposed to the virus. Even when you think your dog is past the worst, the disease can still be spread from dog to dog for up to 3 weeks.
Just as you take active measures to protect yourself and your family from contracting the human flu, it is important to take active measures to protect your dog from contracting the dog flu. Even though by the time dog flu is diagnosed, it is often too late because of how quickly it spreads. Fortunately, dog flu vaccines are now available through U.S. veterinarians to help protect dogs.
The If This Dog Could Talk campaign is an ongoing campaign from Merck Animal Health and has made stops in Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte and Gilbert, Arizona to help raise awareness of dog flu. As part of the campaign tour, Merck Animal Health has released the If This Dog Could Talk: Tour to Prevent Dog Flu album compiled in collaboration with The Dogist to share beautiful photos of dogs from the tour and emphasize the importance of preventing dog flu in an emotionally-compelling way.
Be sure to check it out, download the album, and gain awareness of this important health matter affecting our pets.
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