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Canine Influenza

Has you dog been sneezing or has a runny nose? Canine influenza is one of most prominent health issues for dogs theses days. A virus that has infected horses for over 40 years is now infecting dogs. Dogs who have been exposed have a good chance of becoming infected.

The virus is spread from dog to dog by sneezing, direct contact, and contact with contaminated food and water dishes, bedding, clothing, etc. Canine influenza is easily killed by most disinfectants and does not survive well outside the host. Household bleach can be used for disinfecting contaminated utensils and the premises. Eighty percent of the dogs will show symptoms within 7 to 10 days after exposure. Symptoms of the upper respiratory system include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and fever, which will last for 10 to 21 days, despite treatment with cough suppressants and antibiotics.

Twenty percent of the dogs exposed do not display signs and are silent spreaders of the infection. A small portion of the dogs exposed will develop a more severe form of the disease with signs of pneumonia and high fever and will respond poorly to routine treatment and will require a more extensive therapy. If a dog has had a respiratory illness it should be kept at home for two weeks after its recovery and not be exposed to other dogs. Recovery is indicated by no longer showing symptoms of the disease.

Anytime your dog is exposed to other dogs, such as pet parks and grooming facilities, they are potentially at a high risk. The risk of canine influenza infecting humans is low. There have been no reported cases of equine influenza infecting people. There is no vaccine for the canine influenza at this time, but researchers are trying to develop a vaccine for the virus.

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