WATCH: Dog Flu Exists, Here’s How to Protect Your Furry Friend
Here's how to care for your fur baby during this brutal flu season.
Humans aren't the only species being hit hard by the flu this season. If your pup is coughing, sneezing or acting lethargic, he or she could have the dog flu. Canine influenza is highly contagious among dogs, and multiple strains of the virus have been popping up at an increasing rate around the country, experts warn.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dog flu can't infect humans, but it can be dangerous for both dogs and cats, and in very rare cases can lead to death, if not treated.
"Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking and sneezing," the AVMA explains. "Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places such as kennels, groomers, day care facilities and shelters are at increased risk of infection."
Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, decreased appetite and nasal discharge, though not all dogs infected with the virus show signs. If you notice these symptoms in your pup, take him to the vet to get tested.
"We start out with a dog that develops a temperature of 104 to 106. It's not eating. It's laying around a little bit. It sneezes, hacks coughs, vomits and just a lot of lethargy and goes downhill from there," Dr. Phillip Brown, a veterinarian in Springfield, Missouri, told KWQC.
Though it's rarely deadly and poses little risk to humans, Dr. Brown does encourage pet owners to vaccinate their dogs with the canine version of a flu shot.
For more information visit DogFlu.com.