Dangerous dog flu has U.S. pet owners very worried

Did you know that flu season affects animals as well as people. Recently the dog flu outbreak hitting the West Coast have many pet owners worried. Here is what you need to know about the H3N2 dog flu virus.

H3N2 dog flu outbreak started to affect thousands of dogs in 2015

The H3N2 virus first showed it’s ugly head in Chicago last spring. Since then, the virus spread quickly across at least 24 states, raising concern among veterinarians and pet owners. Thousands of dogs across the U.S. have tested positive for the new strain of dog flu, H3N2, since the outbreak first started in March of 2015, according to the AVMA. This strain of the dog flu virus is new to the U.S., which means our dogs don’t have the natural antibodies they need to fight off the infection.

New dog flu is serious, but not deadly

H3N2 mostly causes mild, non-life-threatening symptoms. It has a very low fatality rate and most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks with veterinary care. However, the dog flu is very dangerous for young puppies, older dogs and dogs with weakened immune systems, because they are susceptible to secondary infections like pneumonia.

Dog flu symptoms to look out for

Dog flu symptoms are remarkably similar to some of those associated with human flu strains. Here are the H3N2 symptoms you need to be aware of:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia (in severe cases)

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