Wake County Animal Services is educating pet owners about canine influenza, a virus that can cause low-grade fever, coughing, sluggish behavior and decreased appetite in dogs. As of July 29, 2015, there has been one confirmed case of canine influenza in Wake County; the flu has also infected dogs in other parts of the state.
With a highly contagious virus like canine influenza, it's important to educate pet owners about the symptoms of the virus and the protective measures they can take to help ensure their dogs remain healthy.
Canine influenza is similar to other respiratory diseases, and testing by a veterinarian is the only way to confirm which disease is causing the symptoms. The virus can be present for up to three days before clinical signs appear. Generally, older dogs, younger dogs and dogs with a weakened immune system are more susceptible to the flu.
If you think your dog may have the flu…
- Call your veterinarian BEFORE going to their office and let them know your dog's symptoms. This will allow them to determine how best to minimize exposure within their practice and prepare for your dog's arrival.
- Keep your dog away from other dogs and public areas until your dog is seen by your veterinarian.
Tips for keeping your pets safe include:
- Make sure your pet follows a recommended vaccine schedule;
- If you board your pet, make sure the kennel is clean and well maintained, and has an isolation (at least 50 feet away) and care plan for dogs that develop signs of kennel cough or other illness;
- Do not take your pets to dog parks or other places where dogs mingle if they have signs of kennel cough or other infectious diseases, and keep your dog at home for three weeks after recovery;
- Make sure your pet has current ID tags with your address and phone number clearly displayed; and
- Keep your pet in overall good health – a strong immune system is the best defense against infection.
For more information on Canine Influenza, please also see the following websites: