Monday, June 16, 2008

Canine flu documented in Illinois

Is Rover coughing? It could be dog flu. Experts urge pet owners to be on the alert now that the disease has been confirmed in Illinois. Canine influenza or "dog flu," is an infectious but treatable disease that was first identified in racing greyhounds in Florida in 2004 and has spread to more than 20 states. Most dogs recover just fine from this influenza, just like most people do from the human version. Canine flu, whose symptoms include a hacking cough, lethargy and vomiting phlegm, can be mistaken for kennel cough. Both conditions affect dogs confined to close quarters, like animal shelters, grooming facilities and day-care centers for dogs. As a species, dogs have not been exposed to the virus long enough to develop immunity. Most dogs who are exposed will get infected and 80 percent will get sick. Dogs are contagious for 7 to 10 days after infection, whether or not they show symptoms, which can drag on for three weeks. There is no approved vaccine to prevent canine influenza. Active cases are typically treated with antibiotics meant to ward off secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia, which can be fatal to puppies, ailing dogs and older dogs. Experts also recommend that pet owners keep coughing dogs away from other dogs. Source: Chicago Tribune

No comments: