The human ‘flu’ is caused by the influenza virus, which cannot spread to dogs and the dog influenza virus cannot spread to people. In fact, it is extremely rare for dogs to get the influenza virus, but we do see cases of canine parainfluenza virus.
The canine parainfluenza virus is an airborne disease which is normally spread by tiny droplets in the air which can survive in the environment. It is spread via infected food bowls, bedding and kennels. The canine parainfluenza virus is one of the causes of kennel cough, a respiratory infection caused by various bacteria and viruses.
How is kennel cough spread?
Kennel cough got its name as dogs were often diagnosed with it after they had stayed at a kennel, spread by close contact with other dogs. Symptoms include a deep hacking cough, which some dogs can fight off naturally without any treatment, usually within three weeks. However, kennel cough can stay in the system for much longer and many dogs need treatment to help them recover. Some dogs can even carry kennel cough for months, without showing any symptoms.
What are the symptoms of dog ‘flu’?
Different viruses and bacteria cause various respiratory signs. The severity will vary between dogs. Get in touch with your vet immediately if you notice your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- A harsh, dry cough
- A runny nose
- Low appetite
During a consultation, your local vet may take a swab or blood test from your dog to diagnose the symptoms. In more serious cases, your dog may require an x-ray to assess their lungs for pneumonia.
How do you treat a dog with flu-like symptoms?
If your dog is diagnosed with the canine parainfluenza virus or kennel cough:
- Separate your pet in a secure, well-ventilated room away from other dogs to prevent the infection from spreading
- Provide plenty of fresh drinking water in a clean metal or ceramic bowl, since plastic can absorb the infection
- If you can, reduce the conditions which may cause your dog to bark to prevent any strain on the throat
- The vet may also prescribe medication to assist with your dog’s recovery and to make them more comfortable during their recovery
How can you protect your dog against kennel cough?
You can keep your dog protected from contracting canine parainfluenza virus or bordetella bronchisepticam, one of the common bacterial causes of kennel cough, by vaccinating them against the virus. For more information on dog vaccinations, read our blog.?
If you suspect your dog is unwell with a cold, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local Animal Trust clinic.